Book Recommendation: The Gunslinger

I saw “The Dark Tower” movie today, and it left me with…mixed feelings. Matthew Mchonaghy makes every scene he’s in so much fun, but the adaptation makes everything so much…less. The ideas shown within the movie are a fraction of what The Dark Tower is about.

But this is about the book, not the movie.

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

Thus begins the first of King’s excellent fantasy series.

It’s a difficult book to get through; or at least the original version was. Made up of five short stories published in a magazine, it’s the shortest of a series of seven (there’s a prequel, too, but I don’t add that one to the main seven.)

The Gunslinger got a revised edition in 2003. It’s good, I hear, and I’m going to read it soon. I could go on and on about the book’s contents, how it’s a slow burner until you get to the very end, and how it sucks you in for several books after that. I could, but I won’t!

Instead, I’ll just say this: The ending of The Gunslinger contains one of the most mind-blowing sections within a novel I have read to date.

“The man in black smiled. “Shall we tell the truth then, you and I? No more lies?”

I thought we had been.”

But the man in black persisted as if Roland hadn’t spoken. “Shall there be truth between us, as two men? Not as friends, but as equals? There is an offer you will get rarely, Roland. Only equals speak the truth, that’s my thought on’t. Friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of regard. How tiresome!”

The Man in Black has to be one of my favourite characters of King’s. He manages to be clever, insightful and predominantly evil. He is a perfect antithesis to Roland. That last part of the novel–it’s a shiver-inducing conversation between these two men, the culmination to the entire 200-something page book.

“Yet suppose further. Suppose that all worlds, all universes, met at a single nexus, a single pylon, a Tower. And within it, a stairway, perhaps rising to the Godhead itself. Would you dare climb to the top, gunslinger? Could it be that somewhere above all of endless reality, there exists a room?…’

You dare not.’

And in the gunslinger’s mind, those words echoed: You dare not.”

Brrrrr. I’m shivering like a pubescent boy falling down a time vortex.

Those shiver a lot, for the record.

At any rate, it’s been a long day, and I think I’ll punch out for this particular blog post. See you again next time!

 

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