Pop Culture Princess

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Friday, February 09, 2018

Walking those first steps towards the Dark Tower for some Series-ous Reading 2

In launching a new round of my Series-ous Reading challenge, I felt it best to keep one set of books as the main focus this time out.

Since I happened upon a good number of titles from Stephen King's The Dark Tower saga at a local rummage sale last spring, that certainly did seem to be a sign to try and go down that particular literary road.

I did read the first two volumes in the series,The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three, years ago but didn't get too far with the rest of the books. With the series now complete, revisiting those two fantasy novels was necessary to get this party truly started.

The Gunslinger isn't exactly a novel; more of a collection of interconnected stories that feature our reluctant hero,Roland, the last warrior of his kind in pursuit of the ultimate enemy, the man in black.

The first sections of the book have the feel of a classic spaghetti western, as they use to call them, with Roland telling a stranger who gives him food and shelter for the night of his time in the remote town of Tull.

There, he takes up with lonely bartender Allie while a recently revived from the dead man delivers a message from Roland's adversary(whose dark magic brought him back) and another grim messenger awaits him, with the intent to set a deadly trap for Roland to avoid or fall into.

Before Roland is ready to take up his quest again, bullets do fly fast and furious and it's not hard to see why one of the early inspirations for the character was Clint Eastwood's The Man With No Name:

However, that cold cinematic figure is not enough to define Roland. His relationship with Jake, the young boy from a not too distant Earth, slowly yet surely reveals the true heart beneath the duty bound fighter.

Their bond is not an easily developed one as Roland knows that Jake was tossed into his path as a temptation to stray from his goal and the boy is all too aware of that fact as well. During their time together, Roland and Jake share moments of frustration and anger towards one another yet neither can truly quit the other as the journey goes on.

By the time a hard choice has to be made,  a sad yet mutual understanding is held between them and while this is not the last emotional connection that Roland will make along the way, the first cut is the deepest indeed:

Towards the end of The Gunslinger, you really do get a fuller sense of the mythos that King is building here,especially when Roland does his dealings with the Oracle in the Mountains(whose prophecies do a fair amount of table setting for what's to come).

That mix of many worlds is at the heart of the whole Tower quest, which gets quite the jump start in The Drawing of the Three as Roland must call forth a new band of traveling companions. At the moment, I'm at the part with Eddie Dean, a man on a bad mission who is just as surprised as anyone to be summoned for a world saving deal like this.

Eddie is in a long line of unlikely allies,some of whom begin as bad guys(Spike in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, for instance) or just less than inclined to be on the side of the angels(Captain Cold's character arch in the Arrowverse).

 Yet, in the right circumstances, such a person can be the right one to have by your side when the fight becomes the worse. Granted, I haven't watched The Walking Dead in a good long while but a guy like Eddie Dean, criminal junkie, could be just as reliable as Darryl Dixon is on that dark journey as well:

Well, my return to the road that leads to The Dark Tower has gotten off to a decent start there and as the rest of the year moves on, my time with the books shall be well reflected. However, I will be making a couple of pit stops along the way, with the Poldark novels that I am also far behind in reading.

Hopefully, by the time that the next season of the PBS series arrives, I will be more in tune with the dealings of the Poldark family in print and that includes tackling Jeremy Poldark once my reading of TDOTT is at an end:

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