Creating "true narrative magic" (The Washington Post) at every revelatory turn, Stephen King surpasses all expectation in the stunning final volume of his seven-part epic masterwork. Entwining stories and worlds from a vast and complex canvas, here is the conclusion readers have long awaited—breathtakingly imaginative, boldly visionary, and wholly entertaining.
Roland Deschain and his ka-tet have journeyed together and apart, scattered far and wide across multilayered worlds of wheres and whens. The destinies of Roland, Susannah, Jake, Father Callahan, Oy, and Eddie are bound in the Dark Tower itself, which now pulls them ever closer to their own endings and beginnings...and into a maelstrom of emotion, violence, and discovery.
About the Author
Date of Birth:September 21, 1947
Place of Birth:Portland, Maine
Education:B.S., University of Maine at Orono, 1970
Read an Excerpt
From Chapter I: Callahan and the Vampires
Pere Don Callahan had once been the Catholic priest of a town, 'Salem's Lot had been its name, that no longer existed on any map. He didn't much care. Concepts such as reality had ceased to matter to him.
This onetime priest now held a heathen object in his hand, a scrimshaw turtle made of ivory. There was a nick in its beak and a scratch in the shape of a question mark on its back, but otherwise it was a beautiful thing.
Beautiful and powerful. He could feel the power in his hand like volts.
"How lovely it is," he whispered to the boy who stood with him. "Is it the Turtle Maturin? It is, isn't it?"
The boy was Jake Chambers, and he'd come a long loop in order to return almost to his starting-place here in Manhattan. "I don't know," he said. "She calls it the sköldpadda, and it may help us, but it can't kill the harriers that are waiting for us in there." He nodded toward the Dixie Pig, wondering if he meant Susannah or Mia when he used that all-purpose feminine pronoun she. Once he would have said it didn't matter because the two women were so tightly wound together. Now, however, he thought it did matter, or would soon.
"Will you?" Jake asked the Pere, meaning Will you stand. Will you fight. Will you kill.
"Oh yes," Callahan said calmly. He put the ivory turtle with its wise eyes and scratched back into his breast pocket with the extra shells for the gun he carried, then patted the cunningly made thing once to make sure it rode safely. "I'll shoot until the bullets are gone, and if I run out of bullets before they kill me, I'll club them with the...the gun-butt."
The pause was so slight Jake didn't even notice it. But in that pause, the White spoke to Father Callahan. It was a force he knew of old, even in boyhood, although there had been a few years of bad faith along the way, years when his understanding of that elemental force had first grown dim and then become lost completely. But those days were gone, the White was his again, and he told God thankya.
Jake was nodding, saying something Callahan barely heard. And what Jake said didn't matter. What that other voice said -- the voice of something
perhaps too great to be called God -- did.
The boy must go on, the voice told him. Whatever happens here, however it falls, the boy must go on. Your part in the story is almost done. His is not.
They walked past a sign on a chrome post (CLOSED FOR PRIVATE FUNCTION), Jake's special friend Oy trotting between them, his head up and his muzzle wreathed in its usual toothy grin. At the top of the steps, Jake reached into the woven sack Susannah-Mio had brought out of Calla Bryn Sturgis and grabbed two of the plates -- the 'Rizas. He tapped them together, nodded at the dull ringing sound, and then said: "Let's see yours."
Callahan lifted the Ruger Jake had brought out of Calla New York, and now back into it; life is a wheel and we all say thankya. For a moment the Pere held the Ruger's barrel beside his right cheek like a duelist. Then he touched his breast pocket, bulging with shells, and with the turtle. The sköldpadda.
Jake nodded. "Once we're in, we stay together. Always together, with Oy between. On three. And once we start, we never stop."
"Right. Are you ready?"
"Yes. God's love on you, boy."
"And on you, Pere. One...two...three." Jake opened the door and together they went into the dim light and the sweet tangy smell of roasting meat.
Jake went to what he was sure would be his death remembering two things Roland Deschain, his true father, had said. Battles that last five minutes spawn legends that live a thousand years. And You needn't die happy when your day comes, but you must die satisfied, for you have lived your life from beginning to end and ka is always served.
Jake Chambers surveyed the Dixie Pig with a satisfied mind.
Also with crystal clarity. His senses were so heightened that he could smell not just roasting flesh but the rosemary with which it had been rubbed; could hear not only the calm rhythm of his breath but the tidal murmur of his blood climbing brainward on one side of his neck and descending heartward on the other.
He also remembered Roland's saying that even the shortest battle, from first shot to final falling body, seemed long to those taking part. Time grew elastic; stretched to the point of vanishment. Jake had nodded as if he understood, although he hadn't.
Now he did.
His first thought was that there were too many of them -- far, far too many. He put their number at close to a hundred, the majority certainly of the sort Pere Callahan had referred to as "low men." (Some were low women, but Jake had no doubt the principle was the same.) Scattered among them, all less fleshy than the low folken and some as slender as fencing weapons, their complexions ashy and their bodies surrounded in dim blue auras, were what had to be vampires.
Oy stood at Jake's heel, his small, foxy face stern, whining low in his throat.
That smell of cooking meat wafting through the air was not pork.
Ten feet between us any time we have ten feet to give, Pere -- so Jake had said out on the sidewalk, and even as they approached the maître d's platform, Callahan was drifting to Jake's right, putting the required distance between them.
Jake had also told him to scream as loud as he could for as long as he could, and Callahan was opening his mouth to begin doing just that when the voice of the White spoke up inside again. Only one word, but it was enough.
Sköldpadda, it said.
Callahan was still holding the Ruger up by his right cheek. Now he dipped into his breast pocket with his left hand. His awareness of the scene before him wasn't as hyper-alert as his young companion's, but he saw a great deal: the orangey-crimson electric flambeaux on the walls, the candles on each table immured in glass containers of a brighter, Halloweenish orange, the gleaming napkins. To the left of the dining room was a tapestry showing knights and their ladies sitting at a long banquet table. There was a sense in here -- Callahan wasn't sure exactly what provoked it, the various tells and stimuli were too subtle -- of people just resettling themselves after some bit of excitement: a small kitchen fire, say, or an automobile accident on the street.
Or a lady having a baby, Callahan thought as he closed his hand on the Turtle. That's always good for a little pause between the appetizer and the entrée.
"Now come Gilead's ka-mais!" shouted an excited, nervous voice. Not a human one, of that Callahan was almost positive. It was too buzzy to be human. Callahan saw what appeared to be some sort of monstrous bird-human hybrid standing at the far end of the room. It wore straight-leg jeans and a plain white shirt, but the head rising from that shirt was painted with sleek feathers of dark yellow. Its eyes looked like drops of liquid tar.
"Get them!" this horridly ridiculous thing shouted, and brushed aside a napkin. Beneath it was some sort of weapon. Callahan supposed it was a gun, but it looked like the sort you saw on Star Trek. What did they call them? Phasers? Stunners?
It didn't matter. Callahan had a far better weapon, and wanted to make sure they all saw it. He swept the place-settings and the glass container with the candle in it from the nearest table, then snatched away the tablecloth like a magician doing a trick. The last thing he wanted to do was to trip over a swatch of linen at the crucial moment. Then, with a nimbleness he wouldn't have believed even a week ago, he stepped onto one of the chairs and from the chair to the table-top. Once on the table, he lifted the sköldpadda with his fingers supporting the turtle's flat undershell, giving them all a good look at it.
I could croon something, he thought. Maybe "Moonlight Becomes You" or "I Left My Heart in San Francisco."
At that point they had been inside the Dixie Pig for exactly thirty-four seconds.
High school teachers faced with a large group of students in study hall or a school assembly will tell you that teenagers, even when freshly showered and groomed, reek of the hormones which their bodies are so busy manufacturing. Any group of people under stress emits a similar stink, and Jake, with his senses tuned to the most exquisite pitch, smelled it here. When they passed the maître d's stand (Blackmail Central, his Dad liked to call such stations), the smell of the Dixie Pig's diners had been faint, the smell of people coming back to normal after some sort of dust-up. But when the bird-creature in the far corner shouted, Jake had smelled the patrons more strongly. It was a metallic aroma, enough like blood to incite his temper and his emotions. Yes, he saw Tweety Bird knock aside the napkin on his table; yes, he saw the weapon beneath; yes, he understood that Callahan, standing on the table, was an easy shot. That was of far less concern to Jake than the mobilizing weapon that was Tweety Bird's mouth. Jake was drawing back his right arm, meaning to fling the first of his nineteen plates and amputate the head in which that mouth resided, when Callahan raised the turtle.
It won't work, not in here, Jake thought, but even before the idea had been completely articulated in his mind, he understood it was working. He knew by the smell of them. The aggressiveness went out of it. And the few who had begun to rise from their tables -- the red holes in the foreheads of the low people gaping, the blue auras of the vampires seeming to pull in and intensify -- sat back down again, and hard, as if they had suddenly lost command of their muscles.
"Get them, those are the ones Sayre..." Then Tweety stopped talking. His left hand -- if you could call such an ugly talon a hand -- touched the butt of his high-tech gun and then fell away. The brilliance seemed to leave his eyes. "They're the ones Sayre...S-S-Sayre..." Another pause. Then the bird-thing said, "Oh sai, what is the lovely thing that you hold?"
"You know what it is," Callahan said. Jake was moving and Callahan, mindful of what the boy gunslinger had told him outside -- Make sure that every time I look on my right, I see your face -- stepped back down from the table to move with him, still holding the turtle high. He could almost taste the room's silence, but --
But there was another room. Rough laughter and hoarse, carousing yells -- a party from the sound of it, and close by. On the left. From behind the tapestry showing the knights and their ladies at dinner. Something going on back there, Callahan thought, and probably not Elks' Poker Night.
He heard Oy breathing fast and low through his perpetual grin, a perfect little engine. And something else. A harsh rattling sound with a low and rapid clicking beneath. The combination set Callahan's teeth on edge and made his skin feel cold. Something was hiding under the tables.
Oy saw the advancing insects first and froze like a dog on point, one paw raised and his snout thrust forward. For a moment the only part of him to move was the dark and velvety skin of his muzzle, first twitching back to reveal the clenched needles of his teeth, then relaxing to hide them, then twitching back again.
The bugs came on. Whatever they were, the Turtle Maturin upraised in the Pere's hand meant nothing to them. A fat guy wearing a tuxedo with plaid lapels spoke weakly, almost questioningly, to the bird-thing: "They weren't to come any further than here, Meiman, nor to leave. We were told..."
Oy lunged forward, a growl coming through his clamped teeth. It was a decidedly un-Oylike sound, reminding Callahan of a comic-strip balloon: Arrrrrr!
"No!" Jake shouted, alarmed. "No, Oy!"
At the sound of the boy's shout, the yells and laughter from behind the tapestry abruptly ceased, as if the folken back there had suddenly become aware that something had changed in the front room.
Oy took no notice of Jake's cry. He crunched three of the bugs in rapid succession, the crackle of their breaking carapaces gruesomely clear in the new stillness. He made no attempt to eat them but simply tossed the corpses, each the size of a mouse, into the air with a snap of the neck and a grinning release of the jaws.
And the others retreated back under the tables.
He was made for this, Callahan thought. Perhaps once in the long-ago all bumblers were. Made for it the way some breeds of terrier are made to --
A hoarse shout from behind the tapestry interrupted these thoughts: "Humes!" one voice cried, and then a second: "Ka-humes!"
Callahan had an absurd impulse to yell Gesundheit!
Before he could yell that or anything else, Roland's voice suddenly filled his head.
The boy turned toward Pere Callahan, bewildered. He was walking with his arms crossed, ready to fling the 'Rizas at the first low man or woman who moved. Oy had returned to his heel, although he was swinging his head ceaselessly from side to side and his eyes were bright with the prospect of more prey.
"We go together," Jake said. "They're buffaloed, Pere! And we're close! They took her through here...this room...and then through the kitchen -- "
Callahan paid no attention. Still holding the turtle high (as one might hold a lantern in a deep cave), he had turned toward the tapestry. The silence from behind it was far more terrible than the shouts and feverish, gargling laughter. It was silence like a pointed weapon. And the boy had stopped.
"Go while you can," Callahan said, striving for calmness. "Catch up to her if you can. This is the command of your dinh. This is also the will of the White."
"But you can't -- "
The low men and women in the Dixie Pig, whether in thrall to the sköldpadda or not, murmured uneasily at the sound of that shout, and well they might have, for it was not Callahan's voice coming from Callahan's mouth.
"You have this one chance and must take it! Find her! As dinh I command you!"
Jake's eyes flew wide at the sound of Roland's voice issuing from Callahan's throat. His mouth dropped open. He looked around, dazed.
In the second before the tapestry to their left was torn aside, Callahan saw its black joke, what the careless eye would first surely overlook: the roast that was the banquet's main entrée had a human form; the knights and their ladies were eating human flesh and drinking human blood. What the tapestry showed was a cannibals' communion.
Then the ancient ones who had been at their own sup tore aside the obscene tapestry and burst out, shrieking through the great fangs that propped their deformed mouths forever open. Their eyes were as black as blindness, the skin of their cheeks and brows -- even the backs of their hands -- tumorous with wild teeth. Like the vampires in the dining room, they were surrounded with auras, but these were of a poisoned violet so dark it was almost black. Some sort of ichor dribbled from the corners of their eyes and mouths. They were gibbering and several were laughing: seeming not to create the sounds but rather to snatch them out of the air like something that could be rent alive.
And Callahan knew them. Of course he did. Had he not been sent hence by one of their number? Here were the true vampires, the Type Ones, kept like a secret and now loosed on the intruders.
The turtle he held up did not slow them in the slightest.
Callahan saw Jake staring, pale, eyes shiny with horror and bulging from their sockets, all purpose forgotten at the sight of these freaks.
Without knowing what was going to come out of his mouth until he heard it, Callahan shouted: "They'll kill Oy first! They'll kill him in front of you and drink his blood!"
Oy barked at the sound of his name. Jake's eyes seemed to clear at the sound, but Callahan had no time to follow the boy's fortunes further.
Turtle won't stop them, but at least it's holding the others back. Bullets won't stop them, but --
With a sense of déjà vu -- and why not, he had lived all this before in the home of a boy named Mark Petrie -- Callahan dipped into the open front of his shirt and brought out the cross he wore there. It clicked against the butt of the Ruger and then hung below it. The cross was lit with a brilliant bluish-white glare. The two ancient things in the lead had been about to grab him and draw him into their midst. Now they drew back instead, shrieking with pain. Callahan saw the surface of their skin sizzle and begin to liquefy. The sight of it filled him with savage happiness.
"Get back from me!" he shouted. "The power of God commands you! The power of Christ commands you! The ka of Mid-World commands you! The power of the White commands you!"
One of them darted forward nevertheless, a deformed skeleton in an ancient, moss-encrusted dinner suit. Around its neck it wore some sort of ancient award...the Cross of Malta, perhaps? It swiped one of its long-nailed hands at the crucifix Callahan was holding out. He jerked it down at the last second, and the vampire's claw passed an inch above it. Callahan lunged forward without thought and drove the tip of the cross into the yellow parchment of the thing's forehead. The gold crucifix went in like a red-hot skewer into butter. The thing in the rusty dinner suit let out a liquid cry of pained dismay and stumbled backward. Callahan pulled his cross back. For one moment, before the elderly monster clapped its claws to its brow, Callahan saw the hole his cross had made. Then a thick, curdy, yellow stuff began to spill through the ancient one's fingers. Its knees unhinged and it tumbled to the floor between two tables. Its mates shrank away from it, screaming with outrage. The thing's face was already collapsing inward beneath its twisted hands. Its aura whiffed out like a candle and then there was nothing but a puddle of yellow, liquefying flesh spilling like vomit from the sleeves of its jacket and the legs of its pants.
Callahan strode briskly toward the others. His fear was gone. The shadow of shame that had hung over him ever since Barlow had taken his cross and broken it was also gone.
Free at last, he thought. Free at last, great God Almighty, I'm free at last. Then: I believe this is redemption. And it's good, isn't it? Quite good, indeed.
"H'row it aside!" one of them cried, its hands held up to shield its face. "Nasty bauble of the 'heep-God, h'row it aside if you dare!"
Nasty bauble of the sheep-God, indeed. If so, why do you cringe?
Against Barlow he had not dared answer this challenge, and it had been his undoing. In the Dixie Pig, Callahan turned the cross toward the thing which had dared to speak.
"I needn't stake my faith on the challenge of such a thing as you, sai," he said, his words ringing clearly in the room. He had forced the old ones back almost to the archway through which they had come. Great dark tumors had appeared on the hands and faces of those in front, eating into the paper of their ancient skin like acid. "And I'd never throw away such an old friend in any case. But put it away? Aye, if you like." And he dropped it back into his shirt.
Several of the vampires lunged forward immediately, their fang-choked mouths twisting in what might have been grins. Callahan held his hands out toward them. The fingers (and the barrel of the Ruger) glowed, as if they had been dipped into blue fire. The eyes of the turtle had likewise filled with light; its shell shone.
"Stand away from me!" Callahan cried. "The power of God and the White commands you!"
Copyright © 2004 by Stephen King
Table of ContentsThe Final Argument
Part One: Todash
I: The Face on the Water
II: New York Groove
VI: The Way of the Eld
Part Two: Telling Tales
I: The Pavilion
II: Dry Twist
III: The Priest's Tale (New York)
IV: The Priest's Tale Continued (Highways in Hiding)
V: The Tale of Gray Dick
VI: Gran-pere's Tale
VII: Nocturne, Hunger
VIII: Took's Store; The Unfound Door
IX: The Priest's Tale Concluded (Unfound)
Part Three: The Wolves
II: The Dogan, Part 1
III: The Dogan, Part 2
IV: The Pied Piper
V: The Meeting of the Folken
VI: Before the Storm
VII: The Wolves
Epilogue: The Doorway Cave
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
To be honest, Steven King gave you all the option you had the good happy ending and you could have stopped there so I don't know why so many people complain about reading on when he clearly warns you will be dissapointed in the book and that it would be tragic. That said I actually really liked the ending and wanted to have that chill going down my spine, after all it is a horror book and the reason why I read them. Love it all and I loved the epic last line.
I liked the series, it took me years to read it. Got interested when my high school teacher (5 yrs ago) gave me song of susannah to read. The ending isn't bad either. I bet most people don't get the ending and there for don't like it. But Stephen King gave Roland a SECOND chance. Where as he never had the horn before, he had then. That's what I believe anyways.
I haven't read another series that has captured me the way Stephen King has in this series. I love how he created this world which is beyond my imagination. I've spent the past 4 months or so on this series, and I'm disappionted for it to end, but it was a good ending. I was in shock on how it ended, but it was a perfect ending for this ka-tet. The DT #7 would have to be my favorite out of the series, even though there were some parts that angered me, and drew tears, but still my favorite. I will be reading this series again!!
Fantastic series! Fantastic ending! I just reread the series four years after I first read it. And though I remembered major points in the story, and thus they were not a surprise, it was like visiting an old friend and having a very good palaver. There were minor details I'd forgotten and was happy to rediscover. Most importantly, I enjoyed it much more the second time around. Now, with barely a hundred pages left, I am starting to dread the aftermath of completing the journey again . . . my own personal todash space of emptiness I experience each time I finish a great read or when the NFL season concludes. And this one is a great read. Loved the characters! Loved the journey! Loved the world of Roland! I cannot honestly remember how deeply I immersed myself into a story like I did with The Dark Tower, and I've read many great books. Sai King's masterfully crafted tale is at the top of the list, my own personal literary tower. I can only hope in three or four, or perhaps more years, when I take upon myself the mantles of this journey once more, the satisfaction I get from it then will surpass the enjoyment I got this time. And perhaps even deeper grows an unfound hope that one day, Ves'-Ka Gan, the song of the turtle, will be heard upon the winds again, and that Mr. King hears it. Hile Roland! Hile Gunslinger!
Really loved this series. I will probably read these again and again. Blaine the train is a pain! That will stay with me for the rest of my life.
The series was like going on an adventure with them and I can only say...It was my pleasure King,long days and pleasant nights.
Yup.. King does it again. I highly recommend this to anyone who has read a good number of his previous books. If you havent read many of his novels, do not start with The Dark Tower series.
Its been awhile since I had read the series but i sat down and went through them all from beiginning to end. I am a fan of SK but in these books he out does himself. I'm just glad he finished the series and he ended it the only way I could see it ending.
Look, many people were not happy with Mr. King's choice on ending the 5000+ page epic. However, I agree with him and say that this is the true and only ending to such a great series.
I love this series of books and was very happry with the ending. I don't think anyone really expected a happy ending for Roland, and if they did, Oh Well. Writing doesn't get any better than this.
I had to wait over 20 years for this book. The first book in the series came out in the early 80s. It's strange, but I was really ready for it to end. I felt like our characters had been searching forever! I really enjoyed the way King provided "the ending," "the epilogue," "coda," poem, and "author's note." It provided the alternative endings and addressed the issues that were still in my mind. That's what I LOVE about Stephen King, he knows his audience, or "Constant Reader" as he called us, so well that he anticipated our thoughts about the conclusion.
I LOVE the Dark Tower Series, but wanted to throw this one across the room when he put himself in it. Again. It wasn't a horrible ending, but King could have done better.
Fantastic end to my favorite literary series.
A Wretched End to a Great StoryI used to rate The Dark Tower among my favorite SF/fantasy stories right up through book 4 (Wizard and Glass), despite the early warning signs even back then. The "Captain Trips"-devastated Kansas that our heroes found themselves in after debarking from Blaine the Mono, and the trip to the Emerald City of Oz at the end of the book, were indications of some of the problems the series was to develop. Tying most of his previous works together into this one epic was unnecessary, and the series as a whole suffered from it. King apparently lost his groove during the long hiatus between books 4 and 5, and never got it back. After peaking with book 3 The Waste Lands and plateau-ing with the story of Roland's youth in book 4, the books 5 and 6 that eventually came out were pale shadows of the preceding volumes.And then we come to the final part of the series. Issue one: Ubervillains like The Ageless Stranger (oftimes known as Flagg, Marten, and a whole legion of other names) and Modred, and even The Crimson King, turn out to be laughable as threats after the buildup they've been given. Two: From almost the very beginning we've been told that there is something wrong with the continuum of all the worlds, and that they face total destruction, and that the only way to save existence is to go to the Tower -- and in this book it turns out that destroying the breaker community at Algul Siento is all that is needed to halt the decay; the remaining beams will heal themselves, and Roland does not have to proceed to the Tower. This basically means Roland's quest was never really what we thought it was, and there should have been no need for the ending we got ... which brings me to ..... Three: I don't know how I would have written the end of the story. It's not my job -- it was King's, and he fell down on the job. After the build-up of the Tower being the linch-pin of all worlds, and the lecture about scale and size in "The Gunslinger and the Dark Man" way back in book 1, the cop-out of the "here we go again" ending is an insult to the Constant Readers, and the preemptiveness of King's defensive "stop reading here if you don't want to be disappointed" admonition is just rubbing salt in the wound. A series as good as this one has been for over half of its run deserved better than this.I don't even know where to start with the smarmy, contrived situation that Susannah ends up in, with Eddie, Jake, and even Oy returned to her. It's like saying "it's okay that all the people she loved were killed, because here they are again, almost as good as before!" The replacements cheapen the deaths of their predecessors. And King's presence as a character in the last two books was every kind of suck.I still love this series, and I can see myself rereading it -- but I don't think I can bring myself to go past book 4 any more.
When I started reading the "Dark Tower" series, I was enthralled with the character of Roland. I thought the concept, while not totally original, was exceptionally well done. After book four, I felt the edge begin to slip from the storyline. King is still a masterful storyteller, however, throughout the saga. It is only through the graces of his storytelling ability, and my personal desire to, like Roland, see my quest through to the end, that I continued to read this last book. It was that bad.There is nothing original in the last book. Every device was telegraphed, so there were no surprises in the plot. I fully anticipated the arrival of characters from previous stories, arriving deus ex mechina, to save the day. Even the trite ending of the book was exactly as expected. It was almost as if the author felt compelled to fill his unwritten contract with his "constant reader" and deliver a final installment, even though his heart had gone out of the project.What kept me slogging trough the pages was King's rich descriptions and wonderful dialog. What is really sad is that even when Stephen King is writing a mediocre story, he is way better than a lot of his contemporaries. If I were rating this on plot alone, it would be a sad two star rating.At points in my reading journey with Roland and friends, I waited several years between installments for the next book to be delivered. I was satisfied with installments when they finally did arrive. Each was a well crafted story, carrying the plot further along, filling in background to Roland's world. I almost wish that King had not delivered the last installments and the we were either forced to wait for a return of the inspiration that gave us the first three volumes or this forever remained an unfinished masterpiece.
Wow, what a finish! Such an epic tale could not have ended any other way, I believe. By the end of the whole series, I knew each member of the ka-tet and felt deep sadness at its demise. Amazing!!
The last, and probably the thickest (with the possible exception of Wizard and Glass) volume in the Dark Tower series is in itself a contradiction: absurd and moving, deeply satisfying and unsatisfying in its long-awaited conclusion to Roland¿s question, disappointing and ultimately redeeming. Of course, King kills off a bunch of major characters, which was foreshadowed all along, but don¿t forget the line from Volume I: ¿Go on, then; there are other worlds than these.¿ So don¿t get too upset.Several aspects of the story border on the ridiculous: Roland¿s were-spider son, who dies an ignominous and rather disgusting death after eating a sick horse; the Lovecraftian creature that chases Roland and company through the tunnels under Castle Discordia; the fairy-tale troll that awaits them in a little cabin and the note from King himself that saves them. You may find King inserting himself into his own novel as a mighty important linchpin in the universe to be a shocking bit of hubris, but his characterization of himself is frankly so unflattering as to take away all accusations of ego. At some point, though, you¿re ready for the Dungeons and Dragons escapades to stop and the serious story to resume.But the ending makes up for it. Our favorite characters get the promise of a life they deserve, and Roland ¿ well, I won¿t give it away, but I imagine I¿m one of the few readers who didn¿t howl in frustration and throw the book against the wall when we find out what happens to Roland. It seems that King was toying with us all along, and it will take a bit of musing to unravel the tangled web of story upon story, world interconnected with world, that King has created in this epic. That¿s just the way I like it. I won¿t say Volume VII is my favorite in the series ¿ the first three are far better, and King¿s gaffes concerning Susannah¿s occasional standing or walking when she has no legs are almost unforgivable ¿ but I will say that he wrote an ending I never saw coming, and that¿s why I liked it so much.
I was left speechless and angry at the end, but upon further thought I understand why King took the path that he did when writing the final installment. I still feel somewhat speechless, but not really angry anymore.
12-16-2006 I just "finished" this novel. A heart-wrenching ending to this long tale. For now, I'm heeding Sai King's urging not to read the final chapter. It is enough for me. Say thankya.
It's over, and yet the end has me wishing for ever more. Things wrap up quickly here, and perhaps not in the way we would wish, but in the way it must be. What Roland finds at the Dark Tower, also, is perhaps not what we hoped for, but what we know, deep down, is the only thing he CAN find. After this novel, I found myself more impressed with Stephen King than I even had been. He's always been able to tell a story, but here we see him telling a story purely in the way the story should be told and not, necessarily, the way the audience wants it told. It is better because of that. The Dark Tower has been a wonderful and moving ride. I look forward to rereading this one again and again.
A great ending to a great series.
The Grande Finale. I thought its publication would be a bigger event but I suppose only the true fans were left standing at this point. Some controversy about how he ended his opus, but I don't know what else he could have done. I was satisfied.
To avoid spoilers, I'll just say that the ending was satisfying and fulfilling. I did not hate it. It did not suck. Yet some things were set in motion to seem very important, but ended up being nothing more than minor nuisances. That is what bothered me most about this book. If you look at it from the standpoint of "It was ALWAYS about the Tower, and nothing else", it does make sense that these seemingly big things turned out to be anti-climatic. The ending itself was very fitting though.
Despite what many have said about this book, I love the way it ends. It's not the destination that's important, it's the journey. Granted that's been said a million times, but I really liked the way King said it.
So sad. So frustrating. The world is 19. Ka-tet. We all serve the beam.