Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Dark Tower is Reached

Well, it finally happened. I finally got to the last page of Stephen King’s Dark Tower saga. The journey itself, which began for me in 1985 or so, has been packed with thrills, laughs, chills, and sorrows. The characters of Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy have become real people to me, friends I had looked forward to visiting again and again.

All along the way, I tried to imagine what the final stage of the story would yield. What exact would the gunslingers find when they reached the Dark Tower? My most fully realized concept was like something out of J.R.R. Tolkien, a fortress swarming with Orcs, hideous monsters wielding battle axes. I foresaw a climatic final battle where some of our beloved gunslingers would perish, but others would prevail and push through into the Dark Tower. That’s about all I had. Vaguely I wondered if they would find the Creator of the universe sitting at the top, working switchboards and dials. Would they meet God face to face?

Book VII did NOT in fact conclude that way. For the sake of those who haven’t reached that point yet, I won’t let anything else slip. Suffice it to say Stephen King did an admirable job of being the scribe of this vision, this tale. Every word is written with loving attention to detail, with honest emotion (yes, love), and with high respect for the characters.

Although my emotional response to much of the book might give away something of the nature of the events (say sorry), I must say I truly experienced grief in this book. I suppose that is to be expected, since it is the last volume in the series, since King had thoughts of retirement as he wrote it. There is loss here, and I grieve because the people and the whole universe of this vision are real to me. And for that I say, Thank ye, Stephen King.

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