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 Post subject: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 20:03 
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As per the topic title, this post is going to be totally spoilerific if you haven't finished reading the Dark Tower Series. So if you're lucky enough not to have finished yet, look away now.

I slogged my way through Mr King's Dark Tower series a while ago. I was thinking about reading it over again recently, but then I thought - "Fuck no. After the massive let down that it caused last time, and knowing the oh-so clever plot twist at the end in advance, what would be the point?"

Indeed, what would be the point? In fact, I strongly resent having spent the time reading it the first time.

Here's why.

King built up a great set of characters during the first few books. The character development and their interactions were incredibly involving. The plot, however, was a fucking mess, insofar as any plot was, at any given point, at all apparent.

What really pissed me off, asides from (i) King involving himself in the story at one point (and a greater example of absolutely toe-curling, rage-inducing ... hell, I don't even have the word for the sort of self-indulgent wank-fest that was. But whatever it was, no greater example of this new noun can be found than that) and (ii) King onanastically recycling the plots and characters from almost EVERY SINGLE BOOK he's written to flesh out the plot of this one, was the ending.

After slogging through the increasingly silly books, with only the ever-decreasing draw of the character development and the "what will happen with Eddie and Susannah?" hoohah to help you overlook the almost plotless mess, he ends with such a gobsmackingly shit resolution that you almost think for a second that he's taking the piss.

Roland gets to the tower. The end.

Ah, but he is taking the piss. And in fact he's just warming up to patronise the hell out of you on the next page with some sort of breaking-the-fourth-wall shit about how it's the journey that's important, and the destination shouldn't matter to a discerning reader who has appropriately enjoyed and appreciated the SHEER FUCKING GENIUS DAMN YOU of the series so far. But, as we're such irredeemable Philistines and he's such a wonderful guy, he will nonetheless give us the resolution.

So Roland climbs the Dark Tower and steps through the door... to the start of Book One.

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

I want my money back.

He could not have more clearly articulated the fact that the whole series was an ill-thought out attempt to milk the successful short story that the first book actually was if he'd just written that as the denouement instead.

What makes it all the more galling is that the guy can write brilliantly. He has written some astonishingly well plotted books in his time, yet the series that he claims is his masterpiece he has put so little actual creative thought into that one wonders if the whole thing was some sort of thinly veiled piss take of Tolkien that he'd been gasping to write since college without realising Bored of the Rings got there first.

So. Who agrees and who disagrees?

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 20:11 
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The series was shit. The characters were hateful.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 20:12 
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I see some thought went into that, mate.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 20:12 
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Yeah, I know - bang on, well thought out literary critique, that was.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 20:17 
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Disagree entirely - if you think he simply returns to the start of book one at the end, you've completely misread the ending.

As for recycling old plots, he hasn't. He's incorporated stories from older books into the series, but in a completely new way. Personally I liked the return of characters from other books, and it's been obvious that for at least 15 years everything King has written has been connected to the Dark Tower in some way.

As for including himself in the book, in short he didn't. He included a character named Stephen King, who shares some but not all of the character and history of the author. It is made clear that the character Stephen King is NOT the author, he is in an entirely different universe.

In my opinion the ending, where Roland begins his quest again but with one small but vital change, is the only possible one, it means that the Tower stands, basically ensuring the survival of the universe, and along with redemption for the other characters there is the promise of future redemption for Roland

Also, in what sense do you consider the first DarkTower book a "successful short story"? It was a commercially unsucessful novel, and was artistically immature, which is why King rewrote it a few years ago.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 20:19 
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SteONorDar wrote:
Disagree entirely.


Ha - you may have addressed Mr Chris' points, but you totally failed to make any headway against my damning criticism, didn't you?

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 20:23 
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Craster wrote:
SteONorDar wrote:
Disagree entirely.


Ha - you may have addressed Mr Chris' points, but you totally failed to make any headway against my damning criticism, didn't you?


That's cos I'd not read it when I posted.

And now I have, all I can really think to say is, if you thought that why did you read the whole thing (assuming you did)

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 20:24 
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Thppp.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 20:24 
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SteONorDar wrote:
Disagree entirely - if you think he simply returns to the start of book one at the end, you've completely misread the ending. ...

In my opinion the ending, where Roland begins his quest again but with one small but vital change, is the only possible one, it means that the Tower stands, basically ensuring the survival of the universe, and along with redemption for the other characters there is the promise of future redemption for Roland


Hang on - are you saying that the small change is that the Tower stands (which, surely, it did to start with), or have I missed a change there? If so, what is it and how's it important? I may well have gotten to the end, saw it appeared to be identical to the beginning of Book One and given up in exasperation rather than examining it line by line for a difference.

Quote:
As for recycling old plots, he hasn't. He's incorporated stories from older books into the series, but in a completely new way. Personally I liked the return of characters from other books, and it's been obvious that for at least 15 years everything King has written has been connected to the Dark Tower in some way.


Sorry, I disagree there. It is recycling, and really does strike me as literary masturbation. There is no earthly reason why the preacher/priest character had to be the guy from that one with the vampires (Salem's Lot, was it?), rather than some new character drawn up specifically for the purpose, other than pure and simple "Look at me! Look at everything I've written! It's so good you want to read about it twice!". Remember he did the same thing with The Regulators/Desperation so he's definitely got form there.

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As for including himself in the book, in short he didn't. He included a character named Stephen King, who shares some but not all of the character and history of the author. It is made clear that the character Stephen King is NOT the author, he is in an entirely different universe.


As far as hair splitting goes, I thought that argument of his was up there with a molecule thick strand in a particle collider. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck...

Quote:
Also, in what sense do you consider the first DarkTower book a "successful short story"? It was a commercially unsucessful novel, and was artistically immature, which is why King rewrote it a few years ago


I was obviously wrong there, then. I had understood it was a decent story that he liked. However, I'm not sure that takes away from the rest of the argument.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 20:39 
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Mr Chris wrote:

Hang on - are you saying that the small change is that the Tower stands (which, surely, it did to start with), or have I missed a change there? If so, what is it and how's it important?

I've not got the books with me to check the exact details, Davydd Grimm has them now, and will probably be along on the thread presently, but basically he picks up the horn that belong to his comrade (Alain or Cuthbert, I can't remember which), that he was supposed to blow at the top of the Tower. This is mentioned in passing several times in the books.
Quote:
Sorry, I disagree there. It is recycling, and really does strike me as literary masturbation. There is no earthly reason why the preacher/priest character had to be the guy from that one with the vampires (salem's lot, was it?) rather than some new character drawn up specifically for the purpose other than pure and simple "Look at me! Look at everything I've written! It's so good you want to read about it twice!". Remember he did the same thing with The Regulators/Desperation so he's definitely got form there.

I believe he did it simply because he liked Father Callahan, and wanted to use him again. I agree with that - he's a good character. He's used recurring character a lot in the past, all the books set in Castle Rock have some of the same characters. Also, as one of the main themes of the book is the general "interconnectedness of things", to phrase it rather badly, bringing characters and plots in from other books works, at least for me.
Quote:

As far as hair splitting goes, I thought that argument of his was up there with a molecule thick strand in a particle collider. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck...

I understand what you mean! For me, it works in the story. It also works outside the story, as a comment on the connection between the Tower and his life, but is done in such a way that it doesn't break the fourth wall, at least not technically.
Quote:

I was obviously wrong there, then. I had understood it was a decent story that he liked. However, I'm not sure that takes away from the rest of the argument.

I think he liked the story, in the sense of plot, but not the way it was written. Just prior to the release of DT6, a substantially rewritten and expanded version of The Gunslinger came out. It's much more in the style of the later books, obviously, so you may not like it. However, if you do decide to reread the series, I would recommend reading that version.

Good thread, Mr Chris, as you can probably tell I like this series quite a lot! It's good to see someone who can dislike something and give good reasons for it.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 20:50 
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SteONorDar wrote:
Mr Chris wrote:

Hang on - are you saying that the small change is that the Tower stands (which, surely, it did to start with), or have I missed a change there? If so, what is it and how's it important?

I've not got the books with me to check the exact details, Davydd Grimm has them now, and will probably be along on the thread presently, but basically he picks up the horn that belong to his comrade (Alain or Cuthbert, I can't remember which), that he was supposed to blow at the top of the Tower. This is mentioned in passing several times in the books.


I faintly remember the horn, yes - did he pick it up after he'd returned to the start of Book One? And why didn't he have it with him when he got to the Tower the first time?

I borrowed the final book from the library, and I only own one or two from the series, so I can't look any of this up myself either!

Quote:
I believe he did it simply because he liked Father Callahan, and wanted to use him again. I agree with that - he's a good character. He's used recurring character a lot in the past, all the books set in Castle Rock have some of the same characters. Also, as one of the main themes of the book is the general "interconnectedness of things", to phrase it rather badly, bringing characters and plots in from other books works, at least for me.


I suppose I can't argue with that, but something about the way that he used his own stories to illustrate that sat ill with me. Not hugely so, and it only really annoyed me after I'd finished, but it did seem to stick out quite a bit whilst you were reading. I guess what rankled is that drawing in your own works into a new story makes the reader go "Oooh! That's the bit from [book x]!" which sort of spoils the suspension of disbelief a bit.

Quote:
Quote:
As far as hair splitting goes, I thought that argument of his was up there with a molecule thick strand in a particle collider. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck...

I understand what you mean! For me, it works in the story. It also works outside the story, as a comment on the connection between the Tower and his life, but is done in such a way that it doesn't break the fourth wall, at least not technically.


It did work in the story, I agree, as the basis for their very existence was that they were artifacts of a narrative created by someone else. But as with the use of characters and locations from King's other books, the use of himself as the "god author" just jumped out a bit much - sort of like your car going over an unexpected speed bump whilst you're driving along a pretty country road, if I can use a really not very apt analogy.

The breaking the fourth wall bit I meant was at the ending only, where he was berating the reader.

Quote:
I think he liked the story, in the sense of plot, but not the way it was written. Just prior to the release of DT6, a substantially rewritten and expanded version of The Gunslinger came out. It's much more in the style of the later books, obviously, so you may not like it. However, if you do decide to reread the series, I would recommend reading that version.


Oooh, that I didn't know. I shall have to reread it for completeness. Which will then inevitably lead to me rereading the whole series....

Quote:
Good thread, Mr Chris, as you can probably tell I like this series quite a lot! It's good to see someone who can dislike something and give good reasons for it.


See, I didn't really hate it. I just hated the ending. For instance, that book based around the young Roland and Alaine and Cuthbert was jaw droppingly excellent. Which made it all the more annoying that some of the later books were, comparatively speaking, weak.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 20:54 
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Mr Chris wrote:

See, I didn't really hate it. I just hated the ending. For instance, that book based around the young Roland and Alaine and Cuthbert was jaw droppingly excellent. Which made it all the more annoying that some of the later books were, comparatively speaking, weak.


In that case I'd definitely recommend rereading, there's so many details that reward it.

The point about the horn, I think, is that he left it after the battle where whichever of his comrades was killed, but at the very end of DT7 there's a reference to him having it. I'll grab the book off Davydd today or tomorrow, and check exactly what happened.

Edit - From Wikipedia
Quote:
There is a slight twist, however; the memory of reaching the Tower quickly fades, yet Roland now possesses the Horn of Eld that he had foolishly lost long ago during the battle of Jericho Hill. This subtle but significant change from the previous timeline further enforces the implication that this cycle of Roland's journey will present him the opportunity to make different decisions and possibly break the cycle and find salvation.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 22:28 
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Mr Chris wrote:
I faintly remember the horn, yes - did he pick it up after he'd returned to the start of Book One? And why didn't he have it with him when he got to the Tower the first time?

Oh no, mate! That's pretty much the entire point of the ending, and (you might say) the whole story.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 22:57 
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I'm with SoND with this. I'm too drunk to elaborate, but I have all seven books on my bookshelf if you want me to look anything up.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:06 
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The 'fourth wall' stuff irritated me at first, mostly the King being in his own book thing. Then I realised that it isn't the Stephen King we know, and that was pretty much when the entire series clicked for me. It's one of the best series of books I've ever read, and I could happily ignore the rest of Kings' work and just read that over and over.

The ending to me is genius, and not at all unexpected; one of the central themes of the story is the 'wheel of ka', and it simply seems that Rolands own wheel is spinning in an ever-decreasing one(of it). Obviously he has been pushed back by the Tower before, but his history implies that every time it happens it is to a point in time closer to the end of the cycle. Having the Horn of Eld may make all the difference in the world, or it may make none. We don't know what was different for Roland last time, or where that cycle began(I assume long before the beginning of the books).

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:28 
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The ending of the seventh book is amazing - taking the whole thing full-circle and ending (just as it began) with the best line he's ever written.

Certainly, after slogging through the whole lot (and about 50% of the series was wholly average), I was perfectly happy with how it finished. In fact, it seems just about the best possible way he could have ended it.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:31 
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There were no copies of the third one in the series in any library in the borough (though there were about five of the last one in our small branch alone. Thanks, purchasing!), and the last copy had gone missing. The ridiculously gorgeous girl with a riot-stopping smile was looking for it, to no avail. So I bought her a copy, and we went out for a drink and fell in love, even though we knew she'd be leaving the country in four weeks. Not long after that happened she went a bit mad and among other things tried to extort a holiday out of a monk, so I spent the money I'd put aside to visit her on a funsquare superplus and a bunch of games.

I read the end of the last one at her behest and thought the epilogue bit kind of good, but then I didn't have to read ten thousand pages to get to it so there was no disappointment. I would consider reading them but I really don't think I'd have the patience for all the fourth wall shit he threw in that she told me about. Stephen King seems like a nice bloke and can write well and all, but he should really take up pottery or something and let someone else have a crack at the limelight for a bit.

In conclusion, there were no copies of the third one in the series in any library in the borough (though there were about five of the last one in our small branch alone. Thanks, purchasing!) and the last copy had gone missing....

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:39 
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You even included one tiny change for accuracy's sake - good work there.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 9:29 
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...among other things tried to extort a holiday out of a monk....


Well if this isn't the basis of an episode of a sit com I don't know what is.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 9:32 
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Drawing of the Three is my favourite.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 13:35 
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I liked the Wolves of Calla(h?) and the last one.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 14:28 
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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 17:15 
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Wizard and Glass for me. There's so much happening, and I love the way it's clear from the beginning exactly what's going to befall Susan Delgado, but all the way through the book I was willing King to change his mind and let her go. That her death affected me so much, despite my knowledge of what was going to happen, was a testament to some damn powerful writing.

The Dark Tower itself is a stunning book, I felt occasionally suffocated and pressured by the sheer weight of the Tower while reading it. I've never read anything else which has put across such an overwhelming sense of dreadful size.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 23:28 

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I've never read anything else which has put across such an overwhelming sense of dreadful size.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 14:11 
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Sorry to dredge this thread up from the past, but I found some news, which is both good and bad

Abrams Opts out of Dark Tower Film
Quote:
"The Dark Tower thing is tricky," Abrams said. "It's such an important piece of writing. The truth is that Damon and I are not looking at that right now.

Ah... it might have been good as a series. BUT!
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Christian Bale was earlier rumoured for the role of antihero Roland Deschain in the project.

Fucking excellent. We've dodged that bastard bullet. I can't imagine anyone I'd like less for Deschain. I reckon Clink could still do it, anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 14:15 
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Wow, I was on good form with this one. Those were the days, eh, readers?

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 14:16 
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I was on better form. Succinct is the key, see.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 14:17 
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Craster wrote:
I was on better form. Succinct is the key, see.

Cock.

Hey, you're right!

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 14:20 
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Mr Chris wrote:
Wow, I was on good form with this one. Those were the days, eh, readers?

Except as Grim... noted, you seemed to miss the whole point of the series and the ending. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 14:21 
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Here's a fact: The last post in this thread was made before I even joined the forum. No wonder I missed it the first time around.


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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 14:22 
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For what it's worth, I loved the ending the The Dark Tower and hated 'Wizard and Glass'. Fucking melodrama about stupid kids and witches? No ta, SK. If I read through these again (and I'll have to, I read the original version of the The Gunslinger), I may just skip over that one.


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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 14:26 
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myp wrote:
Mr Chris wrote:
Wow, I was on good form with this one. Those were the days, eh, readers?

Except as Grim... noted, you seemed to miss the whole point of the series and the ending. ;)

Which only goes to reinforce my incredibly well written critique of King's writing style - he's such a completely onanastic cock that he even managed to obscure his own point in his literary jizz.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 14:29 
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I have only read the first in the series... I might pick up the rest some day

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 15:53 
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I liked King's portrayal of an man with moss growing out of him in Creepshow.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 16:07 
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It's all pish

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DavPaz wrote:
Sorry to dredge this thread up from the past, but I found some news, which is both good and bad

Abrams Opts out of Dark Tower Film
Quote:
"The Dark Tower thing is tricky," Abrams said. "It's such an important piece of writing. The truth is that Damon and I are not looking at that right now.


The Dark Tower series is as close to unfilmable as anything I can think of. I mean, if Hollywood couldn't make fucking Dreamcatcher without changing the plot so much that it was almost a different story, what hope does anyone have of doing The Dark Tower justice? Also, most film adaptations of King's work do middling box-office business at best. Odds-on the first film would bomb and the rest would never get made.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 17:16 
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Well, I think I've given up with this. I'm about 80% of the way through volume III and I just cannot stand any more of King's mediocre prose and shallow characters; it all reminds me rather too much of Dan Brown. By comparison, I picked up Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro on the plane to America and read non-stop for five hours.


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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 17:22 
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This is still a great thread.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 17:48 
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Especially my posts. Scathing literary criticism.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 18:04 
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EvilTrousers

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Doctor Glyndwr wrote:
Well, I think I've given up with this. I'm about 80% of the way through volume III and I just cannot stand any more of King's mediocre prose and shallow characters; it all reminds me rather too much of Dan Brown. By comparison, I picked up Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro on the plane to America and read non-stop for five hours.


Hello me. That's at about exactly the same point where I gave up. I read the summary of how it ended and was glad I had given up long before then.

How far into DaVinci code did you make it? I got about 40% into that before I realised it was a rubbish shareware adventure game from the 1990's turned into a book.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 18:14 
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About seven pages.


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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 18:49 
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Unpossible!

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Wizard and glass can fuck off. Still.

I reread the first one in its adjusted form and it makes more sense in context


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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:33 
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Oddly, earlier this week, I started reading them all again.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 16:43 
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Grim... wrote:
Oddly, earlier this week, I started reading them all again.

Mmmm, I've been tempted to start again recently, too.


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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 23:09 
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The bit with Eddie trying to get off the plane with the smack is still some grade A storytelling.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 19:56 
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Grim... wrote:
The bit with Eddie trying to get off the plane with the smack is still some grade A storytelling.

Agreed. I think Dot3 is actually my favourite of the whole lot.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 15:49 
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http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/63749/2 ... hrough.htm
If you tell it a joke, does it asplode?

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 15:52 
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IDGI.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 15:55 
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blaine_the_Mono

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 15:56 
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Ooh, there are Dark Tower graphic novels.

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 Post subject: Re: King's Dark Tower series - spoilerific
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 15:56 
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Should have paid attention to what thread it was in, I guess.

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