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Tag Archives: The Dark Tower

The Gunslinger Chapters 3-to end

The Edition I have of the Gunslinger. :D

The Edition I have of the Gunslinger. 😀

I just finished the Gunslinger. Here are a few of the lines that really stood out from the last few chapters: “he sat stiffly in the darkness, stunned with horror and terrified (for the first time in his existence) of the self-loathing that might come afterward.”

“In a sudden, simple thought (almost a vision) it came to him that all he had to do was give it over, turn around, take the boy with him, and make him the center of the new force. The Tower did not have to be obtained in this humiliating, nose-rubbing way, did it?…He knew with a sudden coldness that turning backward would mean death for both of them–death or worse.”
“Go then. There are other worlds than these.”
What stood out for you? Why?

Instead of having a few questions per chapter I thought I would change things for the later half of the book and talk about overall impressions, favorite lines from the book, how King’s writing feels to the reader, and what you think about Roland, the man in black, Jake, and where the story is headed…

 

As I read this book again for the first time in over a decade I was, firstly amazed at how it almost felt like reading it for the first time all over again. Secondly, I was amazed that even as I read I kept noticing the subtle and not so subtle changes that King made in this version compared to the first version, which I finally found in a box –I’d hidden it because it was almost damaged beyond repair when where I was living was flooded almost 10 years ago. I know this book seems a little dark, perhaps a bit boring, compared to the other books in the series, and many feel that the reading order should start with The Drawing of the Three, but I disagree. This is, afterall, a story about more than just the Dark Tower, it’s a story about the last Gunslinger’s quest for the Dark Tower. Roland is the last of his kind. Perhaps he succeeds and fails because of his lack of imagination, his intuition, his seemingly ambivalent feelings towards anything or anyone who might stand in his way of the Tower,  but Roland’s growth as a character cannot be fully understood unless you read this book along with the others. 

Jake: I don’t want to spoil future books but Jake’s last words are extremely important and symbolic. Roland has known deep down that there are other worlds. His glimpse of the universe and other worlds from the Man in Black is almost too much for Roland, as we’ve learned Roland doesn’t have much in the way of imagination. Roland knows in his heart what to do, but his head keeps winning the arguments, thus he loses Jake. His thoughts about taking Jake and finding another way to the Tower make you realize just how much he does love Jake for him to even think that thought, though you know he won’t turn back from his quest for the Tower…it’s a bit of foreshadowing though–you can feel it as you read the words. 

SPOILER ALERT: Everything changes for Roland once he draws the three and his Ka-tet is formed. If you don’t read the Gunslinger first then you can’t fully understand just how alone Roland is and has been before he Draws the Three. He’s the last of his kind, one of, if not the only, survivor of his world–imagine how alone he is. He meets Jake and everything changes and yet it doesn’t show immediately. Later on, you’ll see just how much meeting Jake and loving and losing Jake changed him. 

 

 

 

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The Gunslinger Chapter 2 Answers to Discussion Questions

The Edition I have of the Gunslinger. :D

The Edition I have of the Gunslinger. 😀

Do you blame Roland for the deaths in Tull? Yes and no,  Roland knew that if he stayed, even though he had ample opportunity to leave, that it wouldn’t end well, but he stayed to face it head on–that’s his nature at this point in the story.  Was there another way or were the events predestined? He could have left. “Why would I feel bad?” he told Brown. Does his lack of compassion over the killing change anything?  I don’t think he is void of compassion. I think he feels things he just doesn’t let his feelings stop him from doing what the things is right. 

Chapter 2 Questions:

  1. What do you think about the High Speech? What do you think it means to Roland–Past and Present? I think the High Speech connects him with his past, with his father and the face of his father, so to speak–connects him with what he’s about–his quest.  High Speech is also a reminder that the world has moved on. “It is not your place to be moral,” his father says. “Morals may always be beyond you.” I disagree with that, but understand why his father said it… he believes that this will make Roland formidable–a force to be reckoned with because when it is required for Roland to put his morals aside to do what must be done he will be able to do so. 
  2. What do you think about the flashbacks Roland has of his world before it moved on? It’s important as backstory. It’s also important because it helps keep Roland on task, for good or bad. When Roland first starts his quest as a Guslinger his view is romantic, but as you read further on you realize that now Roland feels that his quest is required… he is the last Gunslinger. 
  3. Discuss Roland’s boyhood teacher and mentor Cort–What kind of man was Cort? How does Roland feel about Cort now? Cort is an asshole. One tough son of a bitch. He’s a warrior, tried and true, tough as nails, and lacks compassion. Everything is a lesson to Cort, and he is a hardcore teacher because he has to be. Roland hears Cort in his head, when he needs to less his romantic tendencies I think he thinks of Cort’s teachings when he needs reassurance. I also believe that Cort was such an asshole because he had to be in order to train future gunslingers–tough loe.
  4. Why do you think Roland clings to the traditions from Mid-World, from before the world moved on? Love, honor, duty, loyalty… The world and traditions of Mid-World are similar to King Arthur, his knights, and Camelot. I’d cling to those traditions as well, especially since the new world doesn’t seem to be one where qualities like loyalty, duty, and honor  take precedence.
  5. “While you travel with the boy, the man in black travels with your soul?” What do you think about the prophecy? Roland is given this prophecy repeatedly, even though he believe it he brings Jake along. Do you think it’s Roland’s singular vision, or that he believe the prophecy to be predestined made the prophecy come true?  Roland has already started caring about “the boy.” He knows as soon as he meets Jake that it’s important, and that it won’t end well, but he keeps Jake with him. I think the Prophecy is one more thing that Roland believes is predestined, but it’s actually Roland’s choice. Just like in Tull. He is the only one who can choose, he can change his fate, destiny…
 

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Week one Discussion Question Answers for the Gunslinger

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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