I’ve just finished book two of the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. The first book, The Gunslinger, introduces us to Roland, the last gunslinger. Gunslinger is pretty much what it sounds like, only way more badass. The first book whets your appetite for Roland’s world—one of many worlds—and touches on the surface of his quest for the tower, the evil of the Man in Black, and Roland’s troubling past that has left him without his family and friends.
I still am not sure if I like Roland, but I respect him. His discipline and focus is admirable and though I haven’t quite figured out what his values are, I believe he has them and sticks to them. In book two, I think this quote sums up a lot of what Roland is:
He was a romantic in his own harsh way..yet he was also realist enough to know that sometimes love actually did conquer all.
Using the word “harsh” to describe Roland is a huge understatement. He goes where he needs to, for as long as he needs to, and does what he needs to, even if that includes losing the loved ones he has left to get closer to the Tower. Even if it includes losing his fingers and crawling for miles while his arm gets infected. Even if he kills 100 people without missing a shot. Why does he need to go to the Tower? I have no idea. But I’ll stick around to find out.
Other quotes I liked:
- The only contingency he had not learned how to bear was the possibility of his own madness.
- It was an old yellow sound, like turning pages.
- …but it’s very rotten. Like the ideas of certain people, maybe.
- No, sugar was not cocaine, but Roland could not understand why anyone would want cocaine or any other illegal drug, for that matter, in a world where such a powerful one as sugar was so plentiful and cheap.
- Eddie was doing well. The gunslinger measured just how well by the fact that he was fighting naked.
- “cliche. Do you know what that word means?” “It means what is always said or believed by people who think only a little or not at all.”
Just about every time I picked up these books I couldn’t put them down. Stephen King’s language is as beautiful and intriguing as the characters he’s introducing you to. He comes up with people and scenarios and sentences I couldn’t imagine in my entire life.
One of my favorite moments in the first two books was when Detta/Odetta, the black woman who lives in the ’60s and doesn’t know she’s schizophrenic and who lost her legs when someone pushed her under a subway, looks into the gunslinger’s purse and is awed. Now this is a very manly purse. Here’s what I imagined was inside.
What’s in your bag? Bet it’s nothing like that.