On Harold Lauder

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recitador

Speed Reader
Sep 3, 2016
1,704
7,937
35
#21
Hello, i didn't see an introduction area, so I would like to introduce myself with this post, if that is not breaking the rules. I apologize if i missed it.

I've been a long time fan of Stephen King. my first book was Salem's Lot, but my all time favorite was the book It.I read that book ten times straight when I first got my hands on it. It took me six hours straight of reading it,s topping only for bathroom breaks and something to drink, and even into the wee hours of the night reading it.

But with this post I'd like to speak a little bit on the subject of Harold Lauder.

I consider him the saddest character in all of the book and of all of the characters. Here's why.

Nobody, but nobody wanted him. He was just a thing to be used, then thrown away like he was just trash. Frannie may have considered him a friend, but in the end she threw him aside for Stu.

Not even Flagg wanted him, and Flagg accepted all kinds of bastards. He even accepted the Trashcan man and didn't really throw him aside, but was willing to give him a quick and painless death because he felt a kinship with Trash.

Flagg used him, and then just threw him away when he was done.

He was damned.

Some people are late bloomers, but some people never get to bloom at all, because no matter what they do, no matter how they look sound or seem, they will always be just a throw away person in the eyes of many people.

And that's how I see Harold, as he was presented in both the book and the mini series.

And maybe Lauder was the person he had in mind with the phrase; He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.


Thank you.
This isn't strictly true. It may have been pre superflu, but harold could have thrived in the post apocalyptic world. He was very smart. He chose to succumb to jealousy. He was actually well liked by people in boulder, something which confused him and made him at least briefly question his path. The real tragedy of harold is not that he was rejected by everyone, but that he rejected every attempt by people to include him. In the end he got in his own way. And it cost him and several others everything.
 
Sep 10, 2016
4
25
35
San Diego, CA
#22
I feel like Harold and Nadine were neutral characters who could have gone either way- to Mother Abigail or to Randall Flagg- solely dependent upon the choices they made.

There are a few instances in the book where Harold (and Nadine) both stop and think about whether they should do the tempting bad things and SK shows that they always had a choice.

When he was stealing Fran's diary, Harold stops and almost puts it back. He questions himself briefly on why he can't just let the Stu and Fran thing go.When he gets the nickname Hawk, he thinks about the fact that the burial committee people don't know pre-plague Harold and wouldn't really care about his past anyway. Then he gets home and Nadine is there and down the bad road he went, willingly.

Nadine had known since college that there was a supernatural being that wanted her to remain pure for him and that she was afraid of him. When she denied her dreams rather than discussing them or when she turned Larry away not because she wasn't attracted to him but because she was afraid of angering the bad man she was making a choice. Hell, her and Harold's whole everything but sex thing was a choice- Flagg probably would have killed her if she'd lost her purity but would it really have been as bad as the way it ended for her anyway?

I feel sorry for Harold and Nadine in that they didn't take the chances offered to them to stay in Boulder. Harold especially would have been much better off if he'd forgotten the people he knew in high school and the way he was treated.
 

staropeace

Richard Bachman's love child
Nov 28, 2006
15,107
48,038
Alberta,Canada
#23
I feel like Harold and Nadine were neutral characters who could have gone either way- to Mother Abigail or to Randall Flagg- solely dependent upon the choices they made.

There are a few instances in the book where Harold (and Nadine) both stop and think about whether they should do the tempting bad things and SK shows that they always had a choice.

When he was stealing Fran's diary, Harold stops and almost puts it back. He questions himself briefly on why he can't just let the Stu and Fran thing go.When he gets the nickname Hawk, he thinks about the fact that the burial committee people don't know pre-plague Harold and wouldn't really care about his past anyway. Then he gets home and Nadine is there and down the bad road he went, willingly.

Nadine had known since college that there was a supernatural being that wanted her to remain pure for him and that she was afraid of him. When she denied her dreams rather than discussing them or when she turned Larry away not because she wasn't attracted to him but because she was afraid of angering the bad man she was making a choice. Hell, her and Harold's whole everything but sex thing was a choice- Flagg probably would have killed her if she'd lost her purity but would it really have been as bad as the way it ended for her anyway?

I feel sorry for Harold and Nadine in that they didn't take the chances offered to them to stay in Boulder. Harold especially would have been much better off if he'd forgotten the people he knew in high school and the way he was treated.
I liked your post. Welcome my dear to our humble home. :shake:
 
Sep 10, 2016
4
25
35
San Diego, CA
#25
I see Harold as villan as well. He refused to take any responsibilites for his actions. He insisted on holding on to old grudges. He could have have been any way he wanted to be.

Harold was a literary version of the "nice guy". He was smart but narcissistic about it and honestly could not understand that not every woman would find him attractive. After all- he's so much smarter than the cretins those girls chose instead!
 

muskrat

Dis-Member
Nov 8, 2010
4,486
19,225
Under your bed
#26
Harold was a literary version of the "nice guy". He was smart but narcissistic about it and honestly could not understand that not every woman would find him attractive. After all- he's so much smarter than the cretins those girls chose instead!
Yeah, but he started out with those creepy fantasies about being a weirdo Nero and whipping slave girls. He was bad news from the get go.

A real Ambrosio (The Monk) if ever there was one, he deserved his nasty death.
 

Doc Creed

Well-Known Member
Nov 18, 2015
14,841
65,909
United States
#27
Yeah, but he started out with those creepy fantasies about being a weirdo Nero and whipping slave girls. He was bad news from the get go.

A real Ambrosio (The Monk) if ever there was one, he deserved his nasty death.
Is The Monk a novel? A classic? I saw you referenced it twice and I've never heard of it. I'm intrigued.
 

muskrat

Dis-Member
Nov 8, 2010
4,486
19,225
Under your bed
#28
Is The Monk a novel? A classic? I saw you referenced it twice and I've never heard of it. I'm intrigued.
Oh, dude! Check it out! Matthew Lewis! He, like, hung out with Byron and the Shelleys at Villa Diodati during that rainy summer of 1816. He wrote the first real horror novel in a fiery burst of creativity when he was still in his teens. Got all kinda backlash for it. Just read the damn book, it's so much fun. Especially the 'bleeding nun' parts. Heh heh heh.
 

Walter Oobleck

keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going
Mar 6, 2013
11,749
34,773
#29
But Harold believed his choices were righteous. "This is Harold Emery Lauder speaking. I do this of my own free will." Harold in Boulder, Trashy in Vegas, almost the same result, both places. What a big chunk of story The Stand is! Heh! And it reads like a much shorter work, once a reader gets into it, everything move along. I like the metaphor of the magnets and the slugs, the slugs compared to one of those Mexican jumping beans, "which actually have a live worm inside." If Harold and Trashy, and all of the other characters have a live worm inside, what part does free will play? If a character knows a flaw they possess brings on their own misery, what part does free will play in the matter?

King uses the word jitter and variations on the word, jittering, jittery. If Harold knows anything, or if Harold believes he knows anything, it is that he is aware of a force or forces that work in their world. Harold could have used a gun before he used his phone. "He had been able to let go of the gun...How, he would never know..." With Trashy in Vegas, the reader isn't provided insights into Trashy's mindset, other than my life for you! Maybe, if anything, one could interpret the phrase, he thrusts his fists against the post and still insists he sees the ghost(s?), is a kind of recognition of the magnet, the force that works a will in the universe. Correction, force(s)...as they exist good and evil.

And reading The Stand, one can't but wonder and question the nature of God, as the same word is applied to the Hand of God in Vegas, jittering toward Trashcan Man, giving off sparks like hair. Almost as if even the Hand of God has a force working like a magnet on it.

So yeah, while one can lay the blame entirely at Harold's feet, one can claim Harold is entirely at fault, that it was his choice, that he knew what he was doing, the story-line suggests another reading. Harold knew what he was doing, but he also believed he was doing the bidding of a greater force. Was that the force behind Flagg, is there only one force, one magnet in the world? Or a number of them, a number of forces?
 

Pep's person

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2016
57
324
Mts o' Santa Cruz
#30
I feel like Harold and Nadine were neutral characters who could have gone either way- to Mother Abigail or to Randall Flagg- solely dependent upon the choices they made.

There are a few instances in the book where Harold (and Nadine) both stop and think about whether they should do the tempting bad things and SK shows that they always had a choice.

When he was stealing Fran's diary, Harold stops and almost puts it back. He questions himself briefly on why he can't just let the Stu and Fran thing go.When he gets the nickname Hawk, he thinks about the fact that the burial committee people don't know pre-plague Harold and wouldn't really care about his past anyway. Then he gets home and Nadine is there and down the bad road he went, willingly.

Nadine had known since college that there was a supernatural being that wanted her to remain pure for him and that she was afraid of him. When she denied her dreams rather than discussing them or when she turned Larry away not because she wasn't attracted to him but because she was afraid of angering the bad man she was making a choice. Hell, her and Harold's whole everything but sex thing was a choice- Flagg probably would have killed her if she'd lost her purity but would it really have been as bad as the way it ended for her anyway?

I feel sorry for Harold and Nadine in that they didn't take the chances offered to them to stay in Boulder. Harold especially would have been much better off if he'd forgotten the people he knew in high school and the way he was treated.
Excellent post! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!
 

Haunted

This is my favorite place
Mar 26, 2008
17,060
29,405
The woods are lovely dark and deep
#32
I feel like Harold and Nadine were neutral characters who could have gone either way- to Mother Abigail or to Randall Flagg- solely dependent upon the choices they made.

There are a few instances in the book where Harold (and Nadine) both stop and think about whether they should do the tempting bad things and SK shows that they always had a choice.

When he was stealing Fran's diary, Harold stops and almost puts it back. He questions himself briefly on why he can't just let the Stu and Fran thing go.When he gets the nickname Hawk, he thinks about the fact that the burial committee people don't know pre-plague Harold and wouldn't really care about his past anyway. Then he gets home and Nadine is there and down the bad road he went, willingly.

Nadine had known since college that there was a supernatural being that wanted her to remain pure for him and that she was afraid of him. When she denied her dreams rather than discussing them or when she turned Larry away not because she wasn't attracted to him but because she was afraid of angering the bad man she was making a choice. Hell, her and Harold's whole everything but sex thing was a choice- Flagg probably would have killed her if she'd lost her purity but would it really have been as bad as the way it ended for her anyway?

I feel sorry for Harold and Nadine in that they didn't take the chances offered to them to stay in Boulder. Harold especially would have been much better off if he'd forgotten the people he knew in high school and the way he was treated.
 

doowopgirl

very avid fan
Aug 7, 2009
6,601
22,616
60
dublin ireland
#33
But Harold believed his choices were righteous. "This is Harold Emery Lauder speaking. I do this of my own free will." Harold in Boulder, Trashy in Vegas, almost the same result, both places. What a big chunk of story The Stand is! Heh! And it reads like a much shorter work, once a reader gets into it, everything move along. I like the metaphor of the magnets and the slugs, the slugs compared to one of those Mexican jumping beans, "which actually have a live worm inside." If Harold and Trashy, and all of the other characters have a live worm inside, what part does free will play? If a character knows a flaw they possess brings on their own misery, what part does free will play in the matter?

King uses the word jitter and variations on the word, jittering, jittery. If Harold knows anything, or if Harold believes he knows anything, it is that he is aware of a force or forces that work in their world. Harold could have used a gun before he used his phone. "He had been able to let go of the gun...How, he would never know..." With Trashy in Vegas, the reader isn't provided insights into Trashy's mindset, other than my life for you! Maybe, if anything, one could interpret the phrase, he thrusts his fists against the post and still insists he sees the ghost(s?), is a kind of recognition of the magnet, the force that works a will in the universe. Correction, force(s)...as they exist good and evil.

And reading The Stand, one can't but wonder and question the nature of God, as the same word is applied to the Hand of God in Vegas, jittering toward Trashcan Man, giving off sparks like hair. Almost as if even the Hand of God has a force working like a magnet on it.

So yeah, while one can lay the blame entirely at Harold's feet, one can claim Harold is entirely at fault, that it was his choice, that he knew what he was doing, the story-line suggests another reading. Harold knew what he was doing, but he also believed he was doing the bidding of a greater force. Was that the force behind Flagg, is there only one force, one magnet in the world? Or a number of them, a number of forces?
Interesting take. So you could include Nadine in the same way?
 

Walter Oobleck

keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going
Mar 6, 2013
11,749
34,773
#34
Interesting take. So you could include Nadine in the same way?
Give me a second...I think a conversation Nadine had with Joe will shed some light on the judgement. I'm taking my conclusion from the telling itself, description in the narrative, like that about Harold wanting to shoot with a gun, initially, and then something stopping him from doing so, going that other route. I'll see if I can find that Joe-Nadine conversation. And really, when the guys are walking to Las Vegas, they have conversations that pertain, as well. Let me look. :)
 

doowopgirl

very avid fan
Aug 7, 2009
6,601
22,616
60
dublin ireland
#35
Give me a second...I think a conversation Nadine had with Joe will shed some light on the judgement. I'm taking my conclusion from the telling itself, description in the narrative, like that about Harold wanting to shoot with a gun, initially, and then something stopping him from doing so, going that other route. I'll see if I can find that Joe-Nadine conversation. And really, when the guys are walking to Las Vegas, they have conversations that pertain, as well. Let me look. :)
Nadine did have a conversation about what she felt was her fate. I could be wrong, but I think it was with Harold when they set up housekeeping.
 

Walter Oobleck

keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going
Mar 6, 2013
11,749
34,773
#36
At one point, Nadine tells Joe, "You've changed, I've changed, and we can't change back." She's a bit fatalistic there. But Joe is Nadine's foil, "his strange eyes remained fixed upon hers, seeming to deny this." Later, same page, she tells him, "Things are different for me now, Joe, and that's not my fault. That's not my fault at all..." Whereas Harold, if anything, embraces his choices and doesn't have anything to do with ambivalence, Nadine is not as clear in her mind, t'would seem. Joe continues to stare at her and heh! Joe says nothing. (He's probably going to make a great detective.) Nadine is mad at Larry for not having time. In that, she shares the same mindset as Harold, blaming others for the choices available to them. Could go all Karen Horney on that, the idealized self, so forth so on, the tyranny of the shoulds, neurosis and human growth. She's getting ready to book for Vegas, sends Joe boot-skooting to Larry. "If she wanted to keep her sanity, she must soon be away."

I dunno. I'd have to look further to satisfy myself about Nadine. Interesting that for both Nadine and Harold, it is the actions of others that influence their actions. So how free, really, is their will?
 

recitador

Speed Reader
Sep 3, 2016
1,704
7,937
35
#37
At one point, Nadine tells Joe, "You've changed, I've changed, and we can't change back." She's a bit fatalistic there. But Joe is Nadine's foil, "his strange eyes remained fixed upon hers, seeming to deny this." Later, same page, she tells him, "Things are different for me now, Joe, and that's not my fault. That's not my fault at all..." Whereas Harold, if anything, embraces his choices and doesn't have anything to do with ambivalence, Nadine is not as clear in her mind, t'would seem. Joe continues to stare at her and heh! Joe says nothing. (He's probably going to make a great detective.) Nadine is mad at Larry for not having time. In that, she shares the same mindset as Harold, blaming others for the choices available to them. Could go all Karen Horney on that, the idealized self, so forth so on, the tyranny of the shoulds, neurosis and human growth. She's getting ready to book for Vegas, sends Joe boot-skooting to Larry. "If she wanted to keep her sanity, she must soon be away."

I dunno. I'd have to look further to satisfy myself about Nadine. Interesting that for both Nadine and Harold, it is the actions of others that influence their actions. So how free, really, is their will?
i was thinking about the dreams earlier, and how as i mentioned, those who ended up with flagg had negative dreams about abigail, which would have of course influenced them to head west away from her. then there were abigail's predictions of the four who had to walk to vegas. so in the end, can we consider any of the characters to have true free will? harold is iffy, but nadine was experiencing a connection to flagg long before the superflu came around. that's a lot of influence to break free from
 

Walter Oobleck

keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going
Mar 6, 2013
11,749
34,773
#38
i was thinking about the dreams earlier, and how as i mentioned, those who ended up with flagg had negative dreams about abigail, which would have of course influenced them to head west away from her. then there were abigail's predictions of the four who had to walk to vegas. so in the end, can we consider any of the characters to have true free will? harold is iffy, but nadine was experiencing a connection to flagg long before the superflu came around. that's a lot of influence to break free from
yeah, and if you take the metaphor of the magnet to its logical conclusion...

I'll have to take another look at the conversation the characters had on their way to Vegas. My p.b. is ready to fall apart...maybe a few more page turnings and it will be gone. I can go look for another. But this one is all marked up. How about Tom? Simple like a child, the kind of will of a child, eager to please yet determined as well. Free will there? I know when Nadine booked, she had thoughts about her sanity...that she had to get away to maintain her sanity. Not sure what to make of that. Other than perhaps she felt the pull and the push.
 

recitador

Speed Reader
Sep 3, 2016
1,704
7,937
35
#39
mentioning the four walking to vegas . . .well, they were literally sacrifices used to lure flagg into the open to blow him up. hand of god? why not just grab the SOB and take care of him, rather than staging a grand good vs. evil shindig? i know, i know, plan, mysterious ways, blah, blah, etc. think of it. he sent four, but one will fall by the wayside and not make it. so why send him? wasn't living through the superflu enough of a test without months of barely clinging to life and missing his wife's delivery of the baby? why send four at all? wouldn't two high level captives do? after all that's what they ended up with. the 99% that died from superflu, those that didn't survive to make it to the sorting (only more like gryffyndor and slytherin, only two houses here, yeah, harry potter reference, sue me lol), a few dozen in boulder thanks to harold, everyone who ended up in vegas, god broke a lot of eggs to make that omelette. and if you examine it closely, free will seems largely absent.

it seems we're dealing with old testament god here, who's kind of a d***. i haven't really seen a lot of interviews with king, so i can't say i know his status, but judging by several of his works the case could be made that if he believes in god, he considers him to be kind of a bastard (desperation spoiler ahead)
see desperation and young mr. carver: he can't take them all and make me live . . .quote mr. marinville: god is cruel

poor committee that was trying to govern ended up with only two left standing. seems the leaders god sorted to live through the superflu and be guides to the people were more like lambs to the slaughter. i guess it's a dirty job but someone's got to do it?
 
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