Week one Discussion Question Answers for the Gunslinger

04 Sep
The Edition I have of the Gunslinger. :D

The Edition I have of the Gunslinger. 😀

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” That first line!  Who is the man in black? Why is he in the desert? Why is the gunslinger following the man in black? Who is the gunslinger? Talk about a first line that hooks the reader… my favorite first line ever, well, except for maybe  these two:

  • A screaming comes across the sky. —Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)
  • You better not never tell nobody but God.—Alice Walker, The Color Purple

The first line of the Gunslinger grabbed me the first time I read it back in the late 80’s, and then the second time I read it in the early to mid 2000’s, and again now. I want to know what happens next. Who they are. Why they’re in the desert. And why the gunslinger (who we don’t know is Roland until about 100 pages in) is following the man in black.

I love the Gunslinger, on a whole, and the actual character of the gunslinger–Roland of Gilead.  In the beginning of the novel Roland is weary, isolated, suspicious, serious, and has a keen eye for detail. Roland is a bit of an anti-hero.

Roland’s quest: Roland is the last gunslinger, like a knight but Roland’s grail is the Dark Tower. In order to save his world, as well other worlds, he believes that he needs to reach the Dark Tower and climb to the very top of it in order to talk to the god or demon that resides there. Mid-World, Roland’s world, is unraveling and the beams are breaking, the fabric of reality is changing because of this, and Roland has to find a way to save all worlds. Roland doesn’t know where the Dark Tower is, he just knows he has to complete his task.

King’s writing style compared to his other works is quite a bit different. The Dark Tower series is more fantasy, western, and a bit of sci-fi, with a little horror. Much of King’s other works are more horror/thriller, though some of his books I find more along the line of thriller. King is a natural storyteller, and that comes out no matter which book of his you’re reading. It’s one of my favorite things about King’s writing–I always get sucked in to the world of the book.

Walter O’Dim. The man in black is the antagonist, the “bad guy.” I won’t say much else at this point because of spoilers… except the black clothes are symbolic of the good versus evil element of the story… is the gunslinger, symbolic of good… protect and serve, and the man in black is bad, wearing all black, we don’t know who he is, or what he really looks like…he’s the man in black, hiding behind his robes.


My favorite part so far are the descriptions, and details like “Hey Jude” playing, and as hard as Roland tried to hide it, to bury it, he’s a romantic at heart. My least favorite part so far is that I am having a hard time not spoiling anything for those of you who haven’t read it.


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9 responses to “Week one Discussion Question Answers for the Gunslinger

  1. JCTrain

    September 5, 2016 at 10:21 am

    I’ve started The Gunslinger and I really enjoy your description because for me, never having read the series before, the differences between the town of Tull and when he meets Jake are literally worlds apart. I was having trouble piecing that together with the encounter with Brown. I feel like there’s so much symbolism that I can’t quite grasp what’s going on yet.


    • Burgess Taylor

      September 5, 2016 at 1:13 pm

      The town of TUll and where he meets Jake are literally different worlds… one of the famous lines in the books is: “There are other worlds than these.” I won’t say anything else, but in the beginning of the book the narrator talks about this briefly.
      There is a great deal of symbolism in the book, in all of his books really, but especially the books that are connected to the Dark Tower. Keep reading… it’s gets way better. “Long days and pleasant nights.”


  2. Talisha

    September 5, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Hello, im not sure how to respond so ill answer in list form.
    1. The first line in the bookhad me on the rdge of my seat. I just finished the Stand on Saturday, and im excited to find out why/and what kind of person would want to follow the man in black.
    2.Im not sure how i feel about the book so far.
    3.Im assuming the nature of Rolands quest will be to defeat the man in Black. Ive never read this series so it’ll be interesting.
    4. Kings writing in this book threw me off. After putting down the Stand, and immediately picking up Gunslinger I was surprised by the difference. To be honest im not sure that I like it. I went into the series blind, but im hoping I will change my mind.
    5. The man in black is seems to be powerful and evil.
    6. Lol no opinion yet on my fav/or least fave part.

    Thank Burgess Taylor for hosting this read along. Im going to jump into chapter 2.


    • JCTrain

      September 5, 2016 at 7:11 pm

      Talisha, I feel the same. I haven’t read ‘The Stand, but have read ‘Eyes of the Dragon’ and the writing style is very off putting but I’m hanging on with the hope that it’ll get easier because the books were all written at different times in King’s career and his writing style probably changed over time.


      • Talisha

        September 6, 2016 at 9:39 am

        Jctrain: Good point,Burgess mentioned he wrote this one in college so im sure there will be writing progression. This is also a different type of story for me. I have never read a western lol but there is a first time for everything.


    • Burgess Taylor

      September 5, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      Hello. 😀 Isn’t that first line awesome? 😀
      Roland’s quest is the Dark Tower, the Man in Black is part of the quest as he’s the antagonist, but the actual quest is much bigger than the Man in Black.
      Kings writing changes during the series. He wrote the original version of this book when he was in college. He revised the book in a few places but overall not much has changed in three decades. You can see the difference in the Gunslinger and the later books from the series.
      The Man in Black is the epitome of evil.
      And you’re very welcome. 😀


  3. Talisha

    September 6, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Roland at this point is an odd character, almost as intriguing as the man in black. After being introduced to him in the stand i want to know more about him lol. No i have two characters to try to figure out.

    Im almost done with chapter 2 lol. I tend to read fast,so one chapter a week is hard for me. Do you have a full list of questions available? If not its ok i need to get my but in gear and create a Dark tower progect notebook for destination me.


    • Burgess Taylor

      September 6, 2016 at 10:19 am

      NO, I’m working on the questions for week 2 now. 😀 Usually I’d have already finished the book but with so many projects going on it’s slowed my progress. 😀


      • Talisha

        September 6, 2016 at 3:35 pm

        I completely understand. No need to rush i have plenty do on the other projects.



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