I have a long and close personal relationship with The Dark Tower. Fortunately for you, I’m typing this on a friend’s iPad, so I won’t bore you with too much tl;dr. Anyway, I love the story, and I love Stephen King, but I, like many fans was disappointed with the ending. The article that appeared in Hub today is a product of many years of thought – from the time I realised that The Dark Tower was more than just a story that tickled me particularly in the right way, to my personal wrestlings with the way the story ended.
I started to get excited when I studied the modernists as a part of my undergrad. All these connections surfaced; suddenly I was beginning to understand why I loved these books so much, and how they were moving me so intensely. I couldn’t write about it then, of course. Despite how beautiful the work is, you can’t write about something like The Dark Tower for a literature degree. You should be able to, but you can’t – not for your undergrad, anyway.
There were only four books out at the time, of course. Wolves of the Calla was still a year away. I still believed it was possible for a work to be that beautifully crafted across seven books. It’s a lot of expectation to live up to – Stephen King can’t be blamed for disappointing simply because he wrote four books that were so far above anything else I had ever read before. But I was disappointed, and it took me a long while to adjust to that disappointment. Some of it came together for me after listening to some lectures on the Iliad and the Odyssey. Some of it just came together with time. I saw a little bit of what I thought was going on, and why The Dark Tower ended the way it did. I decided I wanted to share it.
This article is one of the things that came out of the term I took out from my PhD a year or so ago. The Giant is the other. I’m really grateful to Al for not only taking a chance on this article, but giving me the encouragement to do a proper job on it, and to the other members of my writing group for helping me push past the squee into something intelligible. I’m doubly grateful to Al for granting me the space to put the article in two parts, so I didn’t have to cut it down anymore. It’s not all I have to say on TDT, but it’s probably as much as I could say coherently in one space.
So, this was important to me. Go read it ;-p http://www.hubfiction.com/2011/04/hub-137/