Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dark Tower Tuesday - The Shelf Inflicted Staff Speak!

As part of Dark Tower Tuesday, the Shelf Inflicted Staff sound off on the following Dark Tower-related topics.

How did you stumble upon The Dark Tower?:
Dan - I came across The Dark Tower on the letters page in Dragon Magazine, someone talking about how Stephen King was capable of doing fantasy, mentioning the Dark Tower and Eyes of the Dragon. I promptly forgot about it until I saw The Gunslinger on the book rack at Wal-Mart one day.  Once Roland mowed down the entire town of Tull, I know there was no turning back.

Brandon - A few years ago, a friend of mine had told me he started reading The Gunslinger. It sounded like something I'd enjoy but I put it on the backburner. Once I joined GoodReads and saw the overwhelming love this series received, I grabbed it right away.

Anthony - Because when you are young and trying to read every Stephen King novel ever written, all roads lead to the Dark Tower.

Kemper - Everyone was reading Stephen King when I was in high school in the '80s. One of his newer books had Dark Tower listed on his bibliography page. It was a limited release and no one knew what it was about, but it made all of us King fans nuts. So when he released it, I got a copy as soon as I could. And then was confused as hell until The Drawing of the Three came out.

Bryce - It was a mix of the forum sffworld.com and Goodreads. The former for the introduction and the latter for the push to actually read it.

Stephanie - I don't remember. I didn't read it until after it was completed though.

Trudi - I've been reading King since I was 10, and my mom has a used copy of the trade paperback lying around when I finally got to it at 14.

Favorite Dark Tower novel:
Dan - The Wastelands is my favorite.  Everything comes together.  The Ka-Tet is made whole, Eddie and Susannah progress as Gunslingers, and the whole gang shows what its made of in Lud.

Brandon - I've only read the first 4 books (a crime, I know) but I very much enjoyed the third one a lot.

Anthony - Drawing of the Three

Kemper -The Dark Tower. So much heartbreak but it feels so right.

Bryce - #4 Wizard and Glass, but The Waste Lands is close. Greatest love story ever. (disclaimer: only read the first 4 and 4.5)

Stephanie - The Drawing Of Three.

Trudi - The Drawing of the Three – I've re-read that one the most. It's when the series really took hold of me and I knew I was hooked. Just thinking about it now makes me want to read it again (Runner up would be The Waste Lands)

Least Favorite Dark Tower Novel:
Dan - The Wind Through the Keyhole is my least favorite, probably because I waited eight years for minimal gunslinging action.

Brandon - I haven't had an experience worth blaming a singular book for yet. Granted, I've only read the first four and Wind Through The Keyhole is next - which I'm told is the weakest of the series.

Anthony - The Gunslinger

Kemper Wizards & Glass. A flashback love story with Wizard of Oz elements was not my cup o' tea.  The Wind Through the Keyhole. This is not a Dark Tower novel.

Bryce -  #1 The Gunslinger. It's amazing I even read further although there were some genuinely good parts.

Stephanie - I don't have a least favorite. To me the books are all one big book, maybe that's because I read them one after the other without a break the first time through. I litteraly finished one, put it down, and picked up the next without missing a beat. So I coukdn't tell you where one ends and the next begins. But I didn't read the wind through the keyhole yet (because of Kemper)

Trudi - Wizard and Glass – I was so hyped for the story to continue. I was not ready for a flashback novel. While I have come to appreciate it in later years and in context with the rest of the series, it is still my least favorite.

Favorite Moment along the Path of the Beam:
Dan - I'm going to go with the gun fight at Balazar's.  Roland and Eddie throwing lead at Balazar's goons while one of them is buck naked and the other one is dying from lobstrocity bites is hard to beat.

Brandon - So far, when the Ka-Tet stumbles into the setting of The Stand really stuck out. The Stand is probably my favorite novel so reading a new experience in that world really pleased me.

Anthony - When Eddie defeats Blaine the Pain with dead baby jokes and a fistful of bullets.

Kemper -Roland walking up to the Tower while calling out the names of all his friends and family and demanding that it open to him.

Bryce - The stand-off with the Big Coffin Hunters and Alain and Cuthbert.

Stephanie - Wow. I can't pick one....I'll think more on it.

Trudi - ack! So many! The train cliffhanger with Blaine was awful and thrilling. The looong wait for its resolution excruciating. Roland on the airplane inside Eddie's head from Drawing of the Three, loved that. And pulling Jake through to Mid-World through that crazy door, and Eddie having to carve the key just right.

Favorite Ka-Tet member:
Dan - Roland, hands down.  He goes through a remarkable transformation in the series, only to wind up back where we started.

Brandon - Well, I love Roland obviously but I'm going to go with Eddie. There's something about his introduction, that gunfight in New York and his struggles to come to grips with just how integral he is are all reasons to enjoy his character.

Anthony - Roland, duh.

Kemper - Roland. Because he's such a bastard.

Bryce - Cuthbert. Doh! I mean, the Gunslinger himself, Roland.

Stephanie - Breaks down like this......Oy, Jake, Roland, Susannah, Eddie then the preacher. That being said I like all of them.

Trudi - Roland is the man. Then there's Eddie. But love me some Oy too!

Least Favorite Ka-Tet member:
Dan - I'm going with Susannah.  It's not that I don't like her, just that I like her the least.  She gets the nod mostly because she left Roland high and dry in the last book.

Brandon - Eh, this is a difficult one. I love them all. I know that's a cop-out answer but I've really got nothing disparaging to say about anyone.

Anthony - Susannah. To be fair I like her a lot, but she has the baggage of carrying around the bitch-witch Mia.

Kemper -  This is a tough one because I really do like them all. Susannah, I guess. Not because I don't like her but because she got stuck with the whole Mia/pregnancy thing which was one of the weaker subplots.

Bryce - Eddie, but only because it's comparative - I love them all.

Stephanie - Well I guess that means the preacher....but I really do like them all.

Trudi - I love them all, but I suppose if I had to choose, Susannah. Which sucks because she's the only chick in the ka-tet, but there you have it.

Stephen King writing himself into the story: Good or Bad?:
Dan - King writing himself into the books didn't bother me that much but I wouldn't be heartbroken if he rewrote the series and left himself out of it.

Brandon - I haven't come across this yet but depending on how it's done will influence my decision. I remember when Stan Lee became a character in the 1990s Spider-Man cartoon and not liking it very much.

Anthony - Good. I thought it was a stroke of meta-fictional genius.

Kemper -  I liked the way that he established that the Tower was tied to the forces of creation itself and writing himself in as an agent of that creation was kinda clever. And he didn't make himself look very good in the process. But it did feel a little too meta at times.

Stephanie - Good. I liked the move. It was out of the ordinary....beside the Tower is King and King is the Tower.

Trudi - Good, brilliant, ballsy, insane. Some people have called it self-indulgent hubris, but that's bullshit. It served the story extremely well. I loved that fourth wall coming down. Very meta.

Did you cry during the final volume? :
Dan - Yes.  Both times I read it, for Jake, Eddie, and even Oy the Billy Bumbler.

Brandon - Not yet!

Anthony - Like a little girl.

Kemper - I probably would have if I had any normal human emotions.

Stephanie - Yes! I cried at different points through all the books because I'm a weepy girl.

Trudi - Jesus yes. Like a goddamn baby. Even just saying goodbye, knowing the journey was over, man, that was tough. I kept looking at how many pages I had left with a panicky flutter in my chest.

Cast the Ka-Tet:
Dan - I'd pick Hugh Jackman for Roland, Aaron Paul for Eddie, Zoe Saldana for Susannah, and some kid for Jake.

Brandon - A younger Clint Eastwood would be perfect as Roland but since that's not an option, I'd have to go with Vigo Mortenson. I liked James MacAvoy for Eddie, Zoe Saldana for Detta and I'm not really sure who for Jake. I have a hard time casting kids in roles. Oy could be CGI'd.

Anthony - I don't want there to be a movie. Or show. It would only end in disappointment.

Kemper -  Timothy Olyphant. Tall, thin, bad-ass and wears a hat well, Eddie - Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Looper showed that he does a great job playing a guy with a drug problem who can handle big guns while dealing with crazy shit like time travel, Susannah - Danai Gurira- a/k/a Michonne on Walking Dead. If she can kill a thousand zombies, gunslinger in a wheelchair shouldn't be that hard, Jake - ?? Hell, I don't know. Whatever kid actor is the Haley Joel Osmont of the moment when they film it.

Bryce - Roland: Sam Elliott, Susannah: Halle Berry (don't judge), Eddie: Bradley Cooper or Aaron Paul, Jake: Wil Wheaton from "Stand by Me". Okay, he could probably still do it, Oy: Air Bud?

Stephanie - The pictures in my head are so specific that this is hard (I'm bad at names)...

Trudi -I'm one of those who wants an animated adaptation. I think it could be kick-ass and you could make everything look and sound like you wanted.
Roland: Clint Eastwood (he's too old now, but his voice is great). I don't think I would have hated Javier Bardem as long as he could get that accent under control.
Eddie: I'm in love with Norman Reedus and I think he'd make a great Eddie.
Susannah: Angela Bassett (NOT Jada Pinkett-Smith please)
Jake: As long as the kid can act and we don't have a Chandler Riggs situation on our hands

Parting Shots:
Dan - Can't wait to reread it again in a year or two.

Stephanie - I think this series is one of the greatest ever written. I'm not a re-reader in general but these books tend to draw me back yo them over time. I miss the Ka-tet.


  1. I still refuse to consider Wind Through the Keyhole a proper Dark Tower novel, or part of the original 7 book story arc - there's power in the number 7. Wind is like the "extra" features on a DVD, or the outtakes that weren't good enough to merit inclusion in the final cut.

  2. Wind Through the Keyhole is like the extended director's cut. From the day the director was whacked out on cold medicine and was gibbering uncontrollably.