19 Dark Tower Moments

Well, howdy, folks!

Or more appropriately, hile, folken!

In other words, life gets…

Well, lifey sometimes, I suppose.

And what’s a nerd to do when life hands her its lifey-est?

Well, if you said grab the best fantasy series ever, written by The Master and delve back into for the whatever-eth time, you would be…

I’ll take correct, for $19, Alex!

As if both er all of my readers need to be reminded as to what blog they are reading…

So yeah, you bet your fur (or should that be your billy-bumblers pelt) that when you need an escape, The Dark Tower series by Stephen King is just the ticket!

(Of course, hot chocolate sprinkled with nutmeg would make a great accompaniment, wink, wink…)

Now, I have already reviewed all of the books in the series when I did my literary keg stand a few years ago.

But, I love writing about this series so much!

And there is so much to unpack.  I don’t think anyone could ever write too much about The Dark Tower series.

EVAH.

So here I am,ready, at your disposal, ready to provide you with…

More written content about the series, ya perv!

Anyway, I have come up with a list of moments in the series.

Wait for it…

Nineteen moments!

(Nineteen moments.  See what I did there?)

*Casually pats self on the back for being able to make it approximately three blog minutes without bringing up the number 19*

So yes, another list!  My INTJ attempts to inconspicuously wipe the drool from her face…mmmm, lists…

No particular order on this list, although don’t hold me to that statement (it’s still early, only 7 or so blog minutes.)

These moments are varied, and are pulled from all the books in the series.

Some are funny.

Some are head scratchers.

More than a few are tragic (we all know that reading almost anything written by The Master is a form of self-punishment.  But oh so worth it.)

But all of these moments were selected because they stand out, for whatever reason.

So, let’s quit beating on Sheemie’s mule, and get to it.

Time to count down nineteen of the most memorable moments of The Dark Tower series!

Oh, and before I forget:

19.  The Ending (The Dark Tower)

So, we are counting backwards.

And we begin with…

The ending?!

Clear as mud, right?

Well, actually this makes a certain amount of sense (well, about as much sense as anything written in this blog, whatever that is worth.)

I am going to assume…

(And request quiet from the Eddie Dean peanut gallery chattering about what happens when we ASS-U-ME.)

That you have probably read the series.

Including the ending…

And the beginning…

The beginning of the end?

Basically, it is the beginning of the end.

Throughout the seven books in the series (or 7.5, if we include The Wind Through the Keyhole), we journey with Roland.

We become invested in his quest.  We root for him.

We grieve with him (see that part about how some of these entries are tragic.)

Finally, he makes it his Tower.  He sacrificed countless people and creatures along the way, including a hawk.  And a little boy.  And his first love.

But, he makes it The Tower, so he gets closure, right?  Something great waiting for him at the top of that Tower, right?

Lolz, says The Master.  Aren’t you cute?

Wouldn’t it be funny if…

I just threw ole, long, tall and ugly right back to the Mohaine Desert, and have him re-start his quest?

And make you Constant Constant Readers (and long, tall and ugly, at least momentarily) come to the horrifying realization that Roland has done this before?

Many times before in fact.  In fact, our friendly neighborhood gunslinger has been stuck in a loop.

*Cue “This Is The Song That Never Ends”*

I have to admit, that when I first read the ending, it threw me for a loop (okay, guess I gotta fess up and let you know that pun was fully intended.)

But, being the intrepid Constant Constant Reader that I am, I did the only thing I could think to do:

I re-read the book.

And came to an epiphany:

This is the only way the series could have ended.

After all, we all get caught in a loop, just like our friendly neighborhood gunslinger.

We repeat patterns, over and over.

We overlook some important, tiny detail, and we get stuck in that loop.

Until we pick up on something.  Or something might be handed to us.

Like a certain horn…

And when we see that, this time, that we happen to be holding that horn, we come to a realization:

Hope.  There is always hope for us.

There is hope even for the most hopeless of us.

And the hope is the only thing that can free us of that loop.

18.  Oy (The Wastelands)

So, I want to focus on something pure.

And love stories are always pure, right?

They start out like so:

Boy gets hit by car.

Boy doesn’t die, but gets drawn into a strange world that is alien to him, but strangely resembles his own.

Boy meets one of the grizzled inhabitants of this world by “chance” (emphasis on the air quotes around that word, haha.)

Boy bonds with grizzled inhabitant and joins him on his journey.

Grizzled inhabitant bonds with boy before casually letting him fall to his death off a cliff…

(Stay with me here, okay?  The pure part is coming, I promise!)

Grizzled inhabitant later travels back to boy’s world, and saves him from being hit by the car to begin with.  Wasn’t that nice?

Actually, it wasn’t nice, because the grizzled inhabitant created a logical paradox.

Now both the boy and grizzled inhabitant have two sets of memories, and are slowly and surely going cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs…

(Really, give me a few blog minutes, I’m getting there, guys.)

Of course, the only thing to do at this point is to violently “birth” the boy into the world of the grizzled inhabitant, so that the logical paradox can cease to exist.

Isn’t Mid-World logic something?

So boy makes it back into the world of the grizzled inhabitant, who is now accompanied by two other people who were fortunate enough to also be brought in this world, although their stories will be discussed on some later number on this list.

Boy is happy, but doesn’t quite feel that he belongs in this strange new world of talking monorails and tribes who war against each other to the back beat of the tune “Velcro Fly.”

Until…

Now the love part is coming…

He meets a creature that appears to be part raccoon, part dog, agile like a cat, able to mimic human speech like some kind of furry parrot, and all billy-bumbler!

Folken, I give you Oy!

Everyone’s favorite billy-bumbler, aka Oy of Mid-World!

Like I said, he talks!

You can tell me Oy is just mimicking his humans, and you may be correct on that.

But I will never stop believing that Oy is just a little smarter than the average bear er bumbler.

And he can count.  That is no accident!

And rescue his Jake from disgusting pedophiles dying of whatever nasty version of STD’s that Mid-World boasts!

Good for snuggles too!  Now I want my own billy-bumbler!

As stated before, Jake felt that he did not quite belong in Mid-World, until he happened to come across Oy (we can still laugh at the notion of chance here, I think.)

But that meeting solidified Jake’s place in this strange, new world, giving him a sense of belonging, all due to the love and devotion of Oy, his best friend.

Ah, true love.

I’m not crying, you’re crying…

17.  Father Callahan (The Wolves of the Calla)

Now, who doesn’t love a good vampire story?

Let me make one thing clear:

When I say vampire, I am talking about Un-Dead Creatures who will tear out your flesh, and drink your blood.  Creatures with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and not a drop of humanity.

In other words, none of this sparkly shit!

Of course, when I want to read about vampires who don’t sparkle, one of my top choices is ‘Salem’s Lot.

It has everything a non-sparkly vampire lover could want:

Your Dracula (Barlow.)

Your Renfield (Mr. Richard Straker.)

Your protagonists who are the only ones in town without their heads up their asses who can see that the town is infested by vampires (Ben Mears and company.)

And an alcoholic priest who faith waivers, which happens to be a deadly mistake when he tries to confront the Dracula stand-in.  Deadly, but unfortunately not fatal.

Of course, I am talking about Father Callahan, the world-hopping priest who formally headed the Catholic church in the damned (literally) town of Jerusalem’s Lot, or ‘Salem’s Lot for short.

Who also happens to be an alcoholic.

At the conclusion of ‘Salem’s Lot, Father Callahan, after being forced to drink the blood of Barlow, flees the town of ‘Salem’s Lot.

The priest is unable to enter his church, as his faith wavered and he was forced to drink Barlow’s blood.

So he flees, as he unable to face the horrors in his town.

I always thought that was a punk ending for the man.

Often, late at night, I would momentarily wonder what happened to Father Callahan.  Then my thoughts would switch over to more important issues, such as the question of whether penguins have knees.

(Still haven’t figured that one out, in case you were wondering.  About penguins and knees, I mean.)

Well, thanks to The Master, one of those questions got answered.

We encounter Father Callahan in none other than the world of The Dark Tower series, in the book The Wolves of the Calla.

Makes perfect sense.

Mid-World logic at work again…

Roland and his ka-tet learn of Pere Callahan’s time in ‘Salem’s Lot, and his adventures afterwards.

Father Callahan is even “birthed” into Mid-World, in much the same way as Jake entered Mid-World.

Eventually, the priest becomes part of Roland’s ka-tet, and his even able to redeem himself, by sacrificing himself to protect Jake from vampires.

Father Callahan dies on his terms, and is not tainted by the Un-Dead.

And a nerdy blogger finally got an important question answered, so she could ponder more important issues, such as the anatomy of certain, aquatic birds…

16.  Odetta meets Detta (The Drawing of the Three)

Sometimes, the same person can actually be two different people.

Have you ever heard of that Bachman fella?

We also have Caitlyn Snow and Killer Frost.

It’s your lucky day…

Two for the price of one!

And then there is Odetta Susannah Holmes.

And Detta Susannah Walker.

Believe me, these two are nowhere near as much as the twins in that old gum commercial…

When Roland draws together his new ka-tet, after playing cards with an evil wizard and sleeping for a few years (man, Mid-World is fun sometimes), he told that one of the members will be The Lady of Shadows.

Roland believes that he will actually “draw” two women into his ka-tet.

And, in a way, he is correct.

Due to a traumatic brain injury, the woman known as Odetta Holmes (an intelligent civil rights protester living in 1964 New York City), manifests another personality.  This other personality is Detta Walker.

Detta is not intelligent so much as she is cunning and crafty.  And her methods are not peaceful.

Neither woman is aware of the other woman inhabiting her body.

Until Roland introduces the two to each other, by forcing them to look into the eyes of Jack Mort, the serial killer responsible for the two accidents which caused the traumatic brain injury and the splitting of the personality.

The two women realize that they share memories of Jack Mort, and a new personality emerges.

Ronda Rousey, move over…you now have competition for the title of “the baddest woman on planet!”

This union creates Susannah Dean.

Susannah is the best of both worlds:

She has Odetta’s intelligence and sophistication.  No one would have any problem bringing Susannah home to meet Mom.

But, Detta is not dead, as she is also a part of Susannah.

You may not bring Detta home to meet Mom (unless you are in that rebellious stage.  Or you just hate Mom that much.)

But you would want to bring no one else with you when you face demons.

And I am talking about actual demons here, not just the ones in your head.

As in demons that appear to be a side effect of birthing someone into Mid-World (see above part about the love story.)

Bringing Odetta and Detta together is one merger that does not have disastrous consequences.

15.  The gunfight with Enrico Balazar (The Drawing of the Three)

So, who doesn’t love a good gunfight?

I am always up for one, in fact.

Things that make a good gunfight a great gunfight:

A dude with the nickname of Double Ugly gets pushed through a mysterious door into an alien world that is actually not that alien, as it has uncanny resemblances to our world, and said dude gets eaten by lobster monster creature thingies (lobstrosities for short.)

One of the participants is your friendly neighborhood gunslinger, who is an inhabitant of that alien world, and that participant REALLY knows his weaponry, especially guns.

And one the other participants puts up the fight of his life…

Naked?!

The battle between Roland, Eddie Dean and Enrico Balazar and his goons has always been on of my favorite parts of the series, and leaving it off this list would hurt me more than kicking a billy-bumbler er puppy.

The action sequence is amazing, and I don’t think any onscreen treatment will ever match the movie that plays in my mind every time I read this part.

And not only is there action, we get our first in-depth look at Eddie Dean!

This is vintage Eddie Dean, before he becomes fully initiated into Roland’s ka-tet, and before he earns the title of gunslinger.

We get to see Eddie the heroin addict.  Eddie, who believes that his only purpose is to cater to the whims of his asshole big bro.

Eddie, who barely passed the clearing of the customs (sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

And, like Roland, we get the surprise of our life, when we realize that there is steel hidden under that seemingly weak exterior.

After all, Eddie, who has never been in a gunfight in his life, is forced to fight in one, with no training.  It’s for realsies.

And did I mention he is also naked?

Oh, and one of Balazar’s goons also beheads said asshole brother (although we could argue that was the biggest favor anyone had ever done for Eddie.)

But Eddie passes his on the spot test with flying colors.

As a recovering heroin addict, it will not be easy for Eddie in the coming days and weeks.

But that battle with Balazar reassures that Eddie is strong, and he has what it takes to break free of the prison that is addiction, and become the gunslinger that we (and Roland) know that he has been since birth.

14.  The death of Susan Delgado (Wizard and Glass)

It’s no secret that part of being a good writer is killing off characters.

Beloved characters, at that.

Often, a character is killed off, even if he/she did not “deserve” it.

(A moment of silence for Ned Stark.  Just don’t lose your head over this.)

A good writer will have us witness the death through our own eyes, and we feel we are there with that character living (and dying) in the moment with him or her.

However, a great writer will have us witness the death of a character through the eyes of another character, as the death takes place “off screen.”

And somehow, the fact that the death takes place “off screen” does not make it any less agonizing.  In fact, it may be even more agonizing.

In other words, I am talking about the death of Susan Delgado.

Many argue that the fourth book in The Dark Tower series is one that is unnecessary, as it largely tells the back story of Roland Deschain, and does not “advance” the plot of the series any further.

This argument is somewhat correct, as the story does not advance very much, since it tells us what happened to end Roland’s childhood, and what happened to turn him into the man that we meet in The Gunslinger.

But skipping this book is a major disservice to the series.

This book gives insight into the character of Roland Deschain.

Apparently, people don’t become cold-blooded killers, ready to sacrifice their friends for the sake of The Tower, overnight.

Who knew?

Roland, Cuthbert and Alain are sent to the town of Mejis because the adults in their lives believe that Meijis will provide safety again the evil that is taking root in Gilead.

However, ka says otherwise, as Meijis is actually the hotbed for that evil and corruption.

Meijis is also the home of Susan Delgado.

Roland never stood a chance against Susan.  Almost immediately, Roland falls in love in Susan, even though she is “promised” to the mayor of Mejis (an old married man who seems to think he is entitled to a teenage body and whatever children that teenage body may bear.  Ew.)

And Susan never did anything wrong, except maybe to fall in love with the wrong man.

But we cannot control who we fall in love with.

Wizard and Glass is a beautiful, bittersweet love story between two people who know, at some level, that they are on borrowed time.

But those two people still love each other.  That love is intense, to say the least, perhaps because they are on borrowed time.

Susan Delgado is accused of treason, and burned at the stake.

Roland is not by her side, but is forced to watch through Maerlyn’s Grapefruit, a magical artifact that gives its users the ability to see faraway events.  Usually, these events are not pleasant ones.

As she dies, the last words uttered by Susan Delgado are:

Roland, I love thee!

We know that love is true when it is the last words we utter before our death.

Nothing is more pure.  Or more tragic.

13.  Tull (The Gunslinger)

So, let’s get back to action, for a minute.

And death.

Since, you know, there is not enough death in these books (or any other King book, for that matter.)

Now, we’ve talked about characters dying, characters dying in a horrible manner, characters dying and being “born” into Mid-World, etc.

Well, now let’s talk about the death of an entire village.

AN ENTIRE VILLAGE.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Now, I know that maybe part of a village can be bad, right?

Maybe a couple of guys, up to no good…

Making trouble in my…

(I don’t really need to fill in the rest, right?)

But an entire village?

Men, women and…

Children?

Yes, even the children.

Even the kids living in Tull were not safe from our friendly, neighborhood gunslinger.

So, what gives?

Apparently, Sylvia Pittson.

Sylvia was one bad woman, and I don’t mean the good kind of bad.

No, Sylvia was just bad.

Bad as in religious fanatic bad, which is really bad, both in the King universe and in real life.

Our friendly neighborhood gunslinger is hardened man, but he does operate by a code.

However, when a fanatical preacher turns an entire village against him and endangers his quest, along with his life, Roland’s code gets thrown out the window.

Roland then proceeds to take care of business.

When Roland “takes care of business,” things tend to turn deadly.

And the Battle of Tull is no different.

Roland is ruthless, dispatching each and everyone residing in that village, as they have been poisoned.

After all, if your limbs turn gangrenous, you need to amputate them, right?

And this is exactly what Roland does:  he amputates the gangrenous village of Tull.

He even kills Allie, his lover, along with the rest of the village’s inhabitants, both young and old, male and female.

We then realize that Roland means business.

If business is deadly, then it must be ka, right?

12.  Eddie outwits Blaine the Mono (Wizard and Glass)

For a moment, I would like to have some light-hearted fun.

You know what’s really fun?

I will take a riddling contest for $19, Alex!

Even better if that riddling contest puts my friends and I up against a sentient monorail who has gone cuckoo for Cocoa puffs and my punishment for losing is death, as the monorail commits suicide while my friends and I are still on it!

(In a slightly related note, I need to check the sarcasm font here, as I am not sure it is working properly at the moment,  Stayed tuned for further technical updates!)

Well, lucky for me, my man is on board…

*Swoon*

Eddie Dean.

*Swoons yet again, falling with no one to catch her*

Eddie handsome.

And smart.

And a gunslinger.

And crafty.

And has the ability to beat sentient crazy monorails by using logic.

Actually, Eddie does not use logic.

Quick:  Why did the dead baby cross the road?

Because it was stapled to the chicken…duh!

But “duh” was the downfall of Blaine.

Roland had forgotten more riddles than Eddie had ever heard in his life.

Jake had a book, but that didn’t help much.

Susannah did her part, by calling on Detta when the pump was primed backwards.

Oy looked cute, because that’s what Oy does.

So it fell to Eddie to best Blaine.

And Eddie did what Eddie does best:

Trip up on sentient monorails with dumb jokes that fry the circuits of sentient monorails.

Because of those dumb jokes, our favorite ka-tet lived to fight another day, and continue the march towards The Tower.

Whew.

11.  Meeting Stephen King (The Song of Susannah)

Okay, remember when I said some of these moments may be on the weird side?

Well, it doesn’t get much weirder than this one, sai.

And you read the title of this moment correctly:

We meet in Stephen King.

He is a character in his own books.

I mean, you know a series of books is awesome when its creator feels the need to make himself a character in them, right?

(Fun fact:  this is called metafiction.  Really.)

It brings to meaning to the phrase “the writer of your own story.”

And it’s weird, but also kinda cool.

Art affects people.

We think of fiction affecting the reader, and it does.

But fiction, like any form of art, affects the creator.

When an artist creates a piece of art, he/she changes the world.

Something is now created that did not exist previously.

But the artist also changes.

It is no secret that The Dark Tower series has had a major effect on King, both personally and artistically.

All of his books are connected to The Dark Tower series.

From the book about a killer clown living in the sewers of a small town in Maine, to the trilogy telling the adventure of a retired detective and his friends, they are all interlinked.

King’s books are diverse, but the lynch pin is The Dark Tower series.

King also suffered a near fatal vehicle accident in 1999.

In the books, this (literally) put the fate of the multiverse at enormous risk.

This accident also put King’s world at risk, as he did not know if he would be able to finish the series that was the center of the universe.

But luckily, for Roland, his ka-tet, and his Constant Readers, King’s love of this world and the characters he created won out, and the series was finished.

And King’s world and characters continue to live on, because he gave them life, and we continue to give them life by reading these books.

10.  Roland reunites with Sheemie (The Dark Tower)

Okay, time for the waterworks.

Again.

With The Dark Tower series, there are plenty of waterworks.  As we go further down the list, we will continue to encounter them.

But, I want to start off with a waterworks moment that actually does not involve a death.

No, this one is sad, but more of a bittersweet kind of waterworks moment.

Roland’s time in Meijis was a formative time in his youth, and it shaped him into the man we met at the beginning of The Gunslinger.

Not only did Roland fall in love for the first time (and tragically lose that love), he also met some interesting characters.

One of the people Roland encountered during his time in Mejis was a young man named Stanley (Sheemie) Ruiz.

Sheemie is a supposedly mentally handicapped young man, although it is observed that if Sheemie is indeed a half-wit, there more than a few others who may be quarter wits or less.

Roland and his friends rescue Sheemie from the hands of The Big Coffin Hunters, and make a friend for life afterwards.

Sheemie helps Roland and his friends defeat Eldred Jonas and The Big Coffin Hunters, although Sheemie is unable to rescue Susan Delgado from her tragic fate.

Roland mentions in Wizard and Glass that Sheemie was a sort of squire to him and his friends, and the subject is dropped.

Until the final book of the series.

Ka is at work, and Roland and the tet finally make it to Thunderclap, which houses the Breakers, who are people who possess psi abilities.

These people are being used by The Crimson King to destroy reality as we know it.

And one of these Breakers is none other than Sheemie Ruiz.

When Roland encounters Sheemie, Sheemie appears to be afraid, as opposed to being happy to be reunited with an old friend.

It turns out that Sheemie has been carrying guilt over his perceived role in Susan Delgado’s death.

Sheemie breaks down.

But old, long, tall and ugly has nothing but love for Sheemie, and we see that love shine through, when he addresses Sheemie.

It’s beautiful.

And apparently I need to stop cutting onions when I am writing blog entries…

9.  Jake’s death, Part 2 (The Gunslinger)

Okay, time to go there.

Time to start talking about that four letter word that has the nerve to contain an extra letter.

In other words, we are going to start talking about death.

Trust me, there is not a lack of death in this series.  And plenty of the deaths are brutal, at that.

One of these deaths is the death of Jake Chambers.

More specifically, the first time Jake died after hooking up with Roland.

(Yes, the first time after hooking up with Roland.  No words.)

At the beginning of The Gunslinger, some guy whose first name we are not even given is trudging across the Mohaine Desert on some quest, minding his own business like your typical, run of the mill cold-blooded killer.

But someone has other ideas for our friendly, neighborhood gunslinger.

Ideas in the form of a kid who gets hit by a car in another world, and is somehow transported into Mid-World.

At some level, both Roland and Jake know that no sacrifice is too great for Roland’s quest.

This includes Jake’s life.

However, Roland gets attached to Jake, per the plan of that particular someone.

Roland even tells Jake stories from his boyhood, including the tale of Hax, the traitor cook from some faraway place by the name of Gilead.

But Roland is then forced to make a choice.

And he proves his dedication to his quest by allowing Jake to fall.

We shouldn’t be surprised, but it is no less heartbreaking to have to say goodbye to Jake.

We comfort ourselves with this thought:

Go, then.  There are other worlds than these.

8.  The Battle of Call Bryn Sturgis (The Wolves of the Calla)

Again, action sequences.

I can’t help it, I am a total junkie for them

One of the reasons why I love The Wolves of the Calla is the action in the book.

First come smiles.

Then lies.

Last is gunfire.

And there is gunfire aplenty in this particular battle.  The smiles and the lies covered the first half of the book or so, but I digress.

However, we can’t have gunfire without a lot of careful planning on the part of Roland and the rest of the ka-tet.

Actually, there was plate-throwing as well, not just gunfire.

Anyway, Roland deduces that the creatures who invade Calla Bryn Sturgis every 23 years or so are not actually creatures, but robots of a particular kind.  Actually, a nasty kind, as these robots kidnap children.

These robots kidnap children who happen to be one of a set.  Twins, in other words.

The robots harvest something from the kids’ brains for their own disgusting purposes, and the kids are returned to the village.

But when the kids are returned, they are not themselves.  They are “roont,” or human beings who can barely communicate and function as normal people.  They also turn into giants, via a painful growth spurt that hits them when they are in their teens.

Roland and his friend decide to help the people of Calla Bryn Sturgis, for a variety of reasons.

A few weeks are spent preparing for the battle.  As stated before, Roland realizes that the so-called wolves are actually robots.  When you know your enemy, that enemy becomes a little easier to fight.

And the fight is glorious.

This may actually be the ka-tet’s finest moment, which is saying something, given how many fine moments they have throughout the series.

Jake, in particular, stands out in this battle.

Yep, a 12 year old has my vote for G.O.AT.

Jake would deserve it, given his actions, and the fact that he lost a good friend in the battle.  This battle forced poor Jake to grow up even more, as he experienced things not experienced by most twelve year old boys.

Poor Benny the Younger.  Just one of the many sacrificial lambs in the story.

I also loved the Sisters of Oriza, aka the throwers of the plates.

The gunslingers were essential to the battle, but the Sisters of Oriza also played a huge part.

Plus, throwing plates is just bad ass, period.

When the battle ends, we know that the defeat of the wolves has had a direct effect on Roland’s quest to save The Tower, as the wolves were kidnapping children in order to feed the Breakers, people with psi abilities who were recruited by The Crimson King to destroy The Tower and reality itself.

But, the most important part?

We get the satisfaction of knowing that the people of The Call Bryn Sturgis will never have to worry about their children being tortured and being forced to live out the rest of their lives in horrible pain.

That alone makes the death and bloodshed just a little bit easier to endure.

7.  The Death of Randall Flagg (The Dark Tower)

Cry pardon, whatever is that sound?

Why, sai, it’s the sound of me scratching my head yet again, as I prepare to talk about this particular entry.

As we all know, one of the great things about any King book are the villains.

Every hero (or a kinda sort anti-hero) needs a good villain.

And one of King’s most notable villains is Randall Flagg.

And Walter o’Dim.

And Richard Fanin.

And Richard Farris.

Oh, there is some guy that loves to wear dark clothes and cause mischief who is a really cool villain…

Yes, we all know that I am talking about the same (and I use this word quite loosely) person.

Randall Flagg is perhaps the most iconic villain in the universe.

(I will be referring to him as Randall Flagg in this entry.  Don’t want to knock the initials RF, after all.)

One of the reasons why Flagg is such a great villain is that he takes genuine glee in causing not just mischief, but utter chaos.

Flagg can just drop in anywhere, it seems, work his awful magic, watch the ensuing chaos and then disappear, skipping along on his merry way to next kingdom or reality, where he will repeat the cycle, if he is lucky.

For a long time, I thought that if there was a nuclear war, the cockroaches would survive, and they would have Flagg as their leader, sowing death and destruction among the roaches dumb enough not to join up with Flagg and his new roach army.

Which is why you hear that noise, when we talk about Flagg’s death.

Now, you would think that there would be a grand showdown against Roland and Flagg, as Flagg is Roland’s true enemy, and the cause for every bad thing that has happened to Roland, including the death of his mother, father and all of his friends.

Lolz, says The Master.

Why would we have that showdown, when we could have a were-spider boy force Flagg to tear his body parts off so that said were-spider could dine on them, saving the eyes for dessert, popping them into his mouth like grapes?

King’s villains are arrogant, but really?

Has anyone ever told Flagg, “I told you so?”

Scratch that, saying those four words to the uber villain of all uber villains would mean that you wouldn’t live to have those kind of bragging rights.

But, still…

I just have to…

I told you so!

6. The death of Oy (The Dark Tower)

I admit, I have been procrastinating a bit.

I have tried to keep things somewhat light, because the dark moments are just…so dark.

But, I can’t put it off any longer.  We need to talk about this entry.

The death of Oy.

Now, there is A LOT of death in this series.

Both major and minor characters are killed off.

Not even iconic uber-villains are safe from being killed off.

But the death of Oy is one of the most heartbreaking deaths I have ever endured in any work of fiction.

Now, when Oy dies, we should not be surprised.

After all, in the book Wizard and Glass, there is a bit of foreshadowing when Roland peeks into Maerlyn’s Grapefruit and is shown a vision of a billy-bumbler being impaled on a stick.

But, that vision can’t be right, can it?

That can’t be our Oy, can it?

Can it?

It is, and the vision was right.  That particular grapefruit has never been known to show whoever it bewitches anything pleasant.

And poor Oy.

He lost most of his tet.

In particular, Jake.  Oy was forced to watch Jake die on the side of a road.

Oy had also witnessed the death of Eddie.

Even though Susannah didn’t die, she may as well have, as she crossed over into another world via the Unfound Door.

Oy probably knew that his end would not be a good one.

He was given an out when Susannah crossed over, but he chose to stay with “Olan.”

Oy was a gunslinger in his own right.  He was an essential part of Roland’s quest to save The Tower.

Ka had plans for Oy.

And Oy did not try to dodge those plans, even though he must have been tempted.

Instead, Oy fulfilled his destiny.

He was impaled on a stick for his troubles, and died protecting Roland.

Oy’s last word was his version of Roland’s name, and he licked Roland’s hand before he died.

I Ake.

5.  Jake and Oy swap bodies (The Dark Tower)

Whew.

Finally, an entry with a little bit of humor.

I mean, a tyranno-sorbet-wrecks is pretty funny, right?

Actually, someone swapping bodies with another person is never not funny.

Freaky Friday, anyone?

But a boy swapping bodies with his billy-bumbler so that they can escape the vampires and get back to Mid-World is hilarious, amirite?

Jake is human, obviously.

Oy is not, obviously.  Oy is also from Mid-World, so most of anything having to do with our world is pretty confusing to him.

Somehow, Oy accesses a memory of an old movie that frightened Jake as a child.

Enter the tyranno-sorbets-wrecks.

Jake also has to learn to navigate on four legs, while Oy has to learn how to use only two legs.

So yeah, enter more hilarity and high jinks.

All the while, Jake and Oy are running from vampires.

Being caught by these vampires would actually be a fate worse than death.

But Jake is a gunslinger.  And Oy is also a gunslinger.  Having four legs never stopped anyone from being a gunslinger.

Because they are gunslingers, Oy and Jake escape the vampires, and are able to return to Mid-World.

The tyranno-sorbets-wrecks is left in the dust.

At least for now.

4.  Susannah steps through the Unfound Door (The Dark Tower)

Well, at least this one is not about a death, right?

Although the person we are talking about experienced the death of her husband.

And her spiritual son.

Really, Susannah did not die, but does that fact really make a difference when we discuss what happened to her?

In fact, I think that the death of Eddie and Jake was also the death of Susannah.

She was just not the same after those events.

But she remained by Roland’s side, and continued on the path of The Tower with him.

And the pain did not stop, as she had to endure cancer.

Mid-World did not want her there, and let her know, by the way of a disgusting pimple that just would not go away.

So, when Susannah was finally able to make the Unfound Door appear, I felt happy for her.

When she stepped through that door and into another world, I felt nothing but relief.

At least we will have one less casualty on this quest.

And it was beautiful when Jake and Eddie Toren, the Twinners of Jake Chambers and Eddie Dean, finally appeared.

Finally, Susannah could have happiness once again.

Now if you will excuse me, I am craving hot cocoa sprinkled with nutmeg…

3.  Jake’s death, Part 3 (rThe Dark Tower)

Yeah, part 3.

It wasn’t enough for Jake to die once.

No, he had to die three times.

(Although I am a little skeptical about the first time, as Jake ended up in Mid-World.  And died there.  Right.)

But, when Jake died the first time, it was for keeps.

No take backs.

And, oh, how that realization hurts.

Jake, Roland and Oy travel to the “real world,” in order to save a certain writer from an ugly death.

They are successful in their quest, but a huge price is paid.

The van that was supposed to hit and kill Stephen King still hits King, but Jake absorbs the brunt of the impact, and dies shortly afterwards.

In other words, King’s characters save him.

This is beautiful when you thing about it, as art often impacts our lives in a big way, but it does not make the death of Jake any less painful for the reader.

In fact, when I read this scene, I wish that I could absorb some of that pain for Jake.

The thought of how courageous Jake was in his actions, and how painful his death is…

Well, I just can’t find the words.

Yeah, the words on the computer screen are just a little blurry right now.

The eulogy that Roland utters for poor Jake is pure poetry, especially this line:

May his life on this earth and the pain of his passing become as a dream to his waking soul, and let his eyes fall upon every lovely sight; let him find the friends that were lost to him, and let everyone whose name he calls call his in return.

I have said it before, and I will say it again:

I Ake.

2.  The fight with Shardik (The Wastelands)

Well, we are getting close to the finish line.

So of course, I need to insert one more.

That’s right, one more battle sequence!

Come for the tooter fish popkins, stay for the battle scenes, right?

Although this entry could be considered more of a skirmish, as opposed to a battle.

But I still consider the fight with Shardik to be one of the more important action sequences in the series.

First of all, there is Shardik himself.

A cyborg, built to be a Beam Guardian, but who has gone insane and has treed Eddie Dean?

Yep, sign me up!

Oh, and he/it is infested with worms.

Only in Mid-World, right?

But most importantly, this particular battle gives Susannah Dean the chance to test her newly minted guns.

Even after a disturbing conversation with her dinh, in which said dinh confesses that that he believes to be going insane and begs for someone to take away his guns, Susannah shows us what she is made of.

After realizing that Eddie is trapped in the tree, and that she is the only who has a chance of saving him, Susannah proves that she is worthy to bear (okay, maybe I accidentally intended that pun) the title of gunslinger.

Susannah shoots the metal “thinking cap” above Shardik’s head, and saves Eddie.

The ka-tet lives another day, and proves why they are ka-tet.

And the Constant Reader smiles, as memories are made.

Well guys, I need to confess something.

I lied.

I know, I know.

Go ahead and beat me with that wet noodle.

Or Sheemie’s mule, if that do ya fine.

I stated a few blog hours ago that this list was in no particular order.

But this post had determined that was a lie!

There is one moment in particular that sticks out to me, no matter how many times I read this series.

So…

I present to you…

  1.  The death of Eddie Dean (The Dark Tower)

When reading The Dark Tower series, it is easy to start to take things for granted.

After all, how many times does our ka-tet live to fight another day?

Gun fight with Balazar.  Check.

Fight with Shardik and other weird, animal cyborg minions.  Check.

Susannah is forced to give birth to a not human baby that has interesting dietary preferences.  Check.

Jake is kidnapped by pedophile who wants to sacrifice him to The Tick Tock Man.  Check.

Throughout the series, the ka-tet fights and overcomes sometimes insurmountable odds.

Then, there was the Battle of Algul Siento.

King even warns us, before the fighting commences.

They are no longer a ka-tet, just good friends fighting the good fight.

But, we read on anyway.  How can we not?

And at first, the fight goes in favor of our ka-tet.

The Breakers are freed.  The Tower is saved.

And then, our hearts broken.

Eddie Dean is shot by a barely alive Pimli Prentiss.

The battle is done at the this point.  Pimli should not have enough breath to open his eyes, let alone shoot a gunslinger.

But he has, and he does.

Indeed, ka-tet breaks, right along with our spirits.

There are times when you cry.  Like when you stub your toe on errant furniture, maybe.

And there are times when you CRY.

When you CRY, it is not pretty.

The snot runs down your face.  Your face turns red, then purple.

You draw in your breath in hitching gasps.  You may try to speak, but if you manage to utter any words, they are incomprehensible.

The death of Eddie in this series is a moment that makes you CRY.

You CRY for Susannah, who has lost her husband and the man whose love made her a whole person.

You CRY for Roland, who Eddie called his true father before he passed to the clearing at the end of the path.

You CRY for Jake, the only child who found a true brother in Eddie.  In turn, Jake becomes a true brother to Eddie.

But most of all, you CRY for yourself.

You have lost a friend.

A friend who had a sense of humor.  Some of the most quotable quotes in these books are Eddie Dean-isms.

A friend who was sharp and dangerous, behind all the wisecracks.

A friend who more than proved himself to be worthy of the title of gunslinger.

And the book is still not done.  You realize that you still have to finish it, and without the presence of Eddie Dean.

You also realize that this is just the beginning.  There will be more hurt to come.

The death of Eddie Dean drives home what sacrifices need to be made for Roland’s quest, and that the only guarantee is more bloodshed.

But, it still hurts.

It always will, no matter how many trips you take with Roland.

Well, thanks for hanging in there, folken!

These are my 19 most memorable moments of The Dark Tower series.

I am sure that are at least 19 more that I missed, so I cry pardon!

I will be back, with more insight on this series and other works by King.

Until then, long days and pleasant nights!

Oh, and happy reading!

 

 

2 thoughts on “19 Dark Tower Moments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s