An old timer's journey to The Dark Tower

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Neil W

Well-Known Member
May 27, 2008
Isle of Wight UK
I'm not sure when I first became aware of the Dark Tower books. I have been reading SK since Carrie was first published, but there was little fanfare about the DT books (over in the UK, at least), and I suspect that the first 2 books were out before I spotted these unfamiliar paperbacks (I think it may even have been my friend Terry who introduced them to me around 1990-ish). And, of course, with the name "Stephen King" on them, I had to dive in.

And I found The Gunslinger a most peculiar animal, with its odd blend of western, mediaeval chivalry, parallel world, mutants and the like. I confess to being disappointed - it was probably the most difficult SK book to get into of everything I had read up to that point, so I apporached The Drawing Of The Three with trepidation.

Wow. Even though it was a direct chronological pickup from the previous book, it was so completely different, and it grabbed my imagination and raced away with it, introducing me to Eddie and Susannah, a wonderful pair of characters, on the way.

Given my jumping on point, I was lucky enough not to have to wait very long until book 3. Again, a completely different feel to the two previous books, and an expansive adventure
(with Randall Flagg! Wow!)
and a cliffhanger.

A 6 year cliffhanger! The frustration of having to wait 6 years for the resolution of the riddle contest with Blaine was - how can I put this - annoying. But
Blaine finally groaned to a halt,
and here we were in the world of The Stand, another unexpected delight. For me, this was then followed by frustation as they sat round the fire for an entire book, and Roland told the story of his boyhood friends and
his lost love
. I know many love this book, and I know it is necessary to understanding the flow of the story across all the books, but it is my least favourite element of the whole saga.

Followed by another 6 years of silence, during which Mr K was inconsiderate enough to get himself nearly killed. I know it is shallow of me, but one of my thoughts on reading that news was that it might mean The Dark Tower would never get finished. I apologise here and now for this selfish and inconsiderate thought.

The final 3 books, popping up at 6-monthly intervals, means that I got the end of the story over little more than a year.

I loved Wolves Of The Calla. It was everything that, for me, Wizard And Glass wasn't, and I was delighted at
popping up, and the way the interconnectedness with the Stephen King universe in general swung into view. I also loved
the author bringing himself into the plot, and the time wrinkles meant that his accident hadn't happened yet but, when it did, it might mean that the rest of the story never got written
. Preposterous, but wonderful.

Song Of Susannah, a nasty little interlude, took me into the last book. I raced through both of them. I can't say that every development in the story pleased me and, as I've said elsewhere, I had to put the book down and go off and have a quiet moment when
King deliberately killed Jake to save his own darned life
, but I wasn't unhappy with the ending, and boy was it one heck of a journey.

I'm 62 this year and I've been reading voraciously since I was 5, and The Dark Tower is probably the best reading experience of my life.

Angelo Bottigliero

Well-Known Member
Sep 6, 2013
I could never have done it like that. I HAD to wait for him to finish the saga before I started book 1. Knowing it might never be ended scares me too the point of just not starting. Same with 'The Green Mile', I waited for all 6 to be written before I even touched them. Still, I agree: the best story I have ever read.

The Nameless

M-O-O-N - That spells Nameless
Jul 10, 2011
The Darkside of the Moon (England really)
When I started reading them, I had 1-7 available to me, but I didn't read them back to back, there is no way I could have, I'm not a heavy reader and back to back would have been the equivalent of a 3 - 4 thousand page book. I even stopped mid book once (w&g, Susan). I pretty much hated wasteland and if I had to wait 6 years for the cliff hanger I probably wouldn't have finished them.

Do you think going into gunslinger KNOWING it is a strange western, fantasy hybrid helps? Because that's how I went into it and had no troubles at all with it, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The strangest thing for me in the whole series is, for some reason when they find the todash inducing muffin things, and he described how they were so tasty, I swear I could almost taste them too. I got a kind of ghostly flavour in my senses whenever I read about them. How weird is that?

a Constant Reader

New Member
Mar 28, 2014
I just finished reading the series for the 3rd time. The first time I read the books I fell in love with them from page one. You either love them or hate them when you first start the journey, but I was hooked and never looked back. With this last reading I read one book after the other to keep the flow of the story going. I found things that I missed the first time I read the books and other aspects of the stories became clearer. I was "THRILLED” when The Wind Through the Keyhole came out as it brought the whole story back to me one more time. Maybe there’s one more story Mr. King has in store for us with our fellow friends...we can only hope. I look forward to re-reading the books again and finding other treasures that I missed the first 3 times I read them.