Having journeyed with Roland and his ka-tet once before, the events of The Dark Tower shouldn’t have impacted me as they did. I shouldn’t have been shocked, at times dismayed, and certainly not saddened.
Logically, I should have recalled virtually everything with utmost clarity. I did not.
To put it simply, this final volume of King’s epic Dark Tower series is a feral roller-coaster ride of emotions.
Picking up where Song of Susannah left off, we see Jake, Pere Callhan, and the beloved billy-bumbler, Oy, as they battle for their lives, and-essentially-for all of humanity.
Then, in not far off Fedic/New York, Susannah endures one of the most traumatic, emotionally-taxing experiences of her life. Like always, the Constant Reader is taken on a magical trip alongside King’s brilliant characters, in ways that only he can provide.
Later on, as the tet reunites, one must wonder if they’ll ever be the same again… and if so, for how long?
Now, about the ending: I’ve never loved it, and still don’t. Though the first time through, I was vastly disappointed. I almost felt cheated, in fact. But that was in 2004. I much more respect and appreciation for everything King does.
Per the author’s note, “I wasn’t exactly crazy about the ending, either, if you want to know the truth, but it’s the right ending. The only ending, in fact. You have to remember that I don’t make these things up, not exactly; I only write down what I see.”
In complete earnestness, I really cannot imagine the series concluding any other way. Anything else (“and they all lived happily ever after,” let’s say) would be contrived, the antithesis of how he writes.
“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”
Perhaps one of the most beautiful and intriguing opening sentences in all of literature. It’s incredibly simplistic, too.
I love how everything comes full-circle.