When we left off with Roland and his quest for the Dark Tower, Jake dies because Roland was faced with the “second-most agonizing choice of his life” and chose to sacrifice Jake, his symbolic son. Jake tells Roland, “Go, then. There are other worlds than these.” Roland palavers with Walter. The Man in Black tells Roland about the past, the Universe, and Roland’s future with a deck of Tarot cards. The cards show the Sailor, which is Roland’s card, The Prisoner, The Lady of Shadows, and the Death card… these are the three that Roland will find through the three doors he will find along his quest.
The book ends with Roland watching the sunset on the beach of the Western Sea. The Man in Black is dead. Roland’s future is unclear, and less than 7 hours later we begin The Drawing of the Three on that same beach.
Like the Sailor card from the Tarot deck, Roland wakes to the “grating sound of water with a throat-full of stones.” The “monstrosities (or lobstrosities as they will later be called) and their chant of “Did-a-chik” “Did-a-chum” seem to be symbolic. Roland is crippled by them, hurt in a way that he has never been hurt before, losing the first two fingers on his dominant hand (right). This injury is unexpected, in more than one way (to Roland and to the Constant Reader). Why do you think King choose to do that? How does this change Roland? Do you think that the Prologue was a set up for the tone of the novel? Or do you think it was Ka?
King’s influences for the Dark Tower series are The Lord of the Rings; The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly; King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table; and Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came. Do you feel like the Gunslinger showed these influences? Do you feel the influences in The Drawing of the Three?
In The Gunslinger, Roland is shown as a broken, damned man. One who possesses enough humanity to understand his actions, yet lacks enough humanity to change the course of his actions (Ka). Do you think that Roland has grown as a result of his actions? Especially his sacrifice of Jake?
What do you think about Eddie Dean, the Prisoner? What do you think about Roland’s thoughts while riding piggy back in Eddie’s mind?