Monday, December 06, 2004

All Hail the (Crimson) King of Literature(?)

My sister and I read Stephen King when we were in high school. What he lacks as a master of literature he makes up for as master of mounds and mounds of fire fuel er, I mean, books. The guy writes a lot. I haven't read a Stephen King book in years... EXCEPT the Dark Tower series which is Stephen King minus some of the blood, guts, and horror of his usual works (not to say that the books in the Dark Tower series do not have bloody scenes, they do; it's just that this series of books are more apt to be described as fantasy fiction than horror fiction). Over the years, I have definitely left the horror side of fiction behind (don't know why I even read it in the first place... I'm what you would call a voracious reader... I will read just about anything that I can get my hands on... thank God I have grown to be a little more discerning as I have left adolescence behind:). But I have continued to read the Dark Tower series because I WANTED TO KNOW HOW IT ENDS! That's it. And, so, a few weeks ago, my sister lent me her copy of the final installment in the series (aptly titled "The Dark Tower", creative, huh?) Now I can get through a Stephen King book in a few days (sometimes a few hours), I'm just a very fast reader (good when I was in college, bad when I am trying to savor a book). And, obviously Tolkien he ain't, so it's a pretty easy read. I finished it. I will not give away the ending here (although I don't know how many of my blog readers are avid Stephen King readers) but I do want to comment on it, at least a little bit.
I can see where fans of Stephen King, and fans of the Dark Tower series especially (keep in mind that he started the first book in the 70's, and just recently published the last book) may not have been thrilled with the ending. I would like to remind them that ka is a circle and that Roland still needs to come to terms with his past. He needs to forgive himself and that is why he is still in the circle. Maybe the next time around, Roland will actually find what he is looking for... (remember, I don't want to give away the ending:), but I thought the ending made total sense. And, anyway, real life (which this books is so far from) isn't about happy endings. In fact, I usually respect an author more if the ending is not what I suspected or it isn't some Hallmark contrived commercial ending where everyone is happy, happy happy! Thanks for reading...

***NOTE*** I wrote this while I was subbing sixth grade science (during my break). Please forgive me if it sounds a bit random and all over the place.


Karl Thienes said...


Check out Raphael's blog, especially this post:

raphaelthesinner said...

Thanks to Karl for mentioning my blog.
I was sorry to read that you eschew horror. To get a really full view of The Dark Tower series, I would suggest reading Insomnia and Black House at a minimum.

I would argue that King at his best is just as good as Tolkien. The Wizard's Glass is one of the few books that really moved me. King's greatest strength, IMHO, is his characters. The are real people. And Susan Delgado's death nearly moved me to tears, both for the loss of such a beautiful person and Roland's grief.

I also think the way Dark Tower ended is very appropriate.

Christina said...

raphael... thanks for the post. After reading the last Dark Tower book I pretty much decided that I will probably have to read Insomnia (because of all the references to it). I will also check out the other book you mentioned. I stopped reading the more gruesome horror books because I am too visual of a person and I would scare myself so much that I couldn't sleep at night:) But that's why I enjoy the Dark Tower books (which I believe they are definitely King at his best)... King's writings without the scary horror. And I am sorry to see the series end. But I look forward to reading them over again in the years to come.

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