The Gunslinger by Stephen King (about the story this time)

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Roland, the gunslinger, isn’t any one I can admire right now, even though he is clearly the hero.

He isn’t a hero as I would define one: honest, fearless, and loyal.

He wanders through the dry desert, following the tracks of the man in black, leaving  destruction in his wake. Allie, with whom he has slept (for information) is dead; the town, Tull, is destroyed behind him.

He meets a boy, a brave boy named Jake, who has somehow withstood the heat, the lack of food and water. They go together, the boy clearly admiring the gunslinger and asking for stories from his youth. How, for example, did Roland become a man?

The answer is less than pleasant. The gunslinger used a trick against his teacher, choosing a weapon which was perfectly admissible and yet most difficult to take a position against. The battle is bloody, and I can tell this is just the beginning of many such battles.

For there are hints that Roland will exchange the boy, use him as “a poker chip” which Jake himself knows, when next they meet the man in black.

It ain’t no Girl Scout camp, this journey to the Tower. The fact that Roland came from New Canaan ought to be enough to tell you that, for as anyone knows, Canaan was not a land of the noble or good. No matter what Stephen King may tell you.

It will be interesting to see where this series takes us, if I continue in reading all 7 books. After I get back to the Man Booker list, of course.

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11 thoughts on “The Gunslinger by Stephen King (about the story this time)”

    1. He is an excellent story teller. Language and “whatsoever things are good, think on these things”? Not so much. I only turn to him for a brief respite from “heavier” reading, and then I usually run away screaming.

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  1. I read a number of Stephen King novels when I was young, with The Stand my favorite, so when the Dark Tower movie came out I said “let’s go see it and then I won’t need to read all seven novels.” And a friend of mine had been thinking the exact same thing, he said, so we did and we won’t.

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  2. Bellezza, he is an excellent story teller. It takes a lot of imagination and dedication to come up with and tell these stories! I have a few (other) Stephen King books on my To Read list. Enjoy your weekend. 🙂

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  3. I’ve been a huge Stephen King fan since I was a teen. I’ve read, and loved, many of his novels. However, I cannot get into The Gunslinger/Dark Tower books. I’ve tried a few times, but they just miss the mark for me, and don’t even feel like King. So it doesn’t surprise me when others don’t like The Gunslinger.

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    1. As mentioned in a comment above, The Gunslinger is not even in a Stephen King voice which is familiar to me. Perhaps that is partly because he wrote it so young, and partly because he was trying so hard to mimic established fantasy writers (i.e. J. R. R. Tolkien). I’m glad he gave that up and found his unique place.

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  4. I love this series, but Roland is most definitely not likable in the first book. And the first book is much slower than the others. The second book is where the series picks up and finds its voice, and Roland starts to become more likable–and a little funny.

    As for the movie, it’s altogether different from the book. More inspired by the series than based on it. I enjoyed it, though.

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