Tue
May 9 2017 11:00am

The Dark Tower: Wolves of the Calla Part VI

Last week, we learned of the “unfound” door that will lead our ka-tet back to NYC. This week, Susannah's pregnancy becomes increasingly distressing, and Eddie makes contact with 1977 Calvin Tower. 

Our previous read, The Wind Through The Keyhole, waylaid us in a town hall as a starkblast trapped our ka-tet with freezing conditions. Roland of Gilead spent the time palavering with Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy about long ago when him and fellow gunslinger Jamie tracked down and killed the shapeshifter Skin-Man. Intertwined in the narrative, we discover that Roland’s mother Gabrielle had learned from Randall Flagg that her son would murder her, and so in a letter she’d written in advance, she absolved Roland of the deed. After the icy weather passes, the ka-tet emerges and heads along the Path of the Beam toward Thunderclap.

*Remember: While this is a reread, please avoid spoilers in the comments. The point is to get there together!

We're back to wacky Stephen King chapters, so the plan is to read a section a week (about 100 pages) and meet here at our usual time (Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET) to discuss major themes, motifs, and reactions. Make sure to bookmark the HQ page for the schedule and links to all of the chapter discussions as they go live! This week, Eddie travels back to 1977 NYC to talk with Calvin Tower! Join us in the comments for a discussion of Part VI of Wolves of the Calla: Part Three The Wolves, I: “Secrets” – Part Three The Wolves, II: “The Dogan, Part 1”!


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Part Three The Wolves, I: “Secrets” – Part Three The Wolves, II: “The Dogan, Part 1”

Roland Deschain may regret going to Father Callahan about Susannah’s condition. At the close of our last read, Mrs. Eddie Dean lets her ka-tet in on what they already know—she’s pregnant. But, it would seem, she isn’t in on the fact that it’s a demon’s progeny. He asks Callahan if Rosalita would be willing to abort the baby, but the “good” Catholic man—sometimes, right?—is aghast. Not only does he refuse, he also threatens to sick the entire community of Calla Bryn Sturgis on Roland if he insists on going through with it.

Say, wait a minute … Callahan kills vampires! If the undead don’t fall under the umbrella of God’s “thou shall not kill” creatures, then surely neither would the spawn of such an unholy union. And for a man of the cloth who has admitted previously to a wavering faith, couldn’t he lose his religion just once more or make an exception in this one case?

On the positive side, Roland is stoked by something that old man Jaffords has told Eddie, asking him to repeat it. They have found weaknesses in the Wolves’ offensive, and they now have hope to survive. If only they can keep Mia’s “love” child at bay, because Susannah is a whiz at throwing those bladed dishes, and she will be essential to their win.

Her hands dropped and became a blur. Only Roland, Eddie, and Jake were able to mark how they crossed at the waist, the right hand seizing a dish from the left pouch, the left hand seizing one from the right. Sai Eisenhart had thrown from the shoulder, sacrificing time in order to gain force and accuracy.

Susannah’s arms crossed below her ribcage and just above the arms of her wheelchair, the dishes finishing their cocking arc at about the height of her shoulderblades. Then they flew, crisscrossing in midair a moment before thudding into the side of the barn.

I was wondering why Jake didn’t tell Roland about Ben Slightman the Elder’s meeting with Andy, making the assumption that Jake doesn’t want to get his new friend’s father in hot water. But what left me scratching my head is with Jake’s clairvoyance and the huge tidal threat ahead of them, it seems like an awfully big secret to keep. King is investing us in Jake’s relationship with the younger Slightman, and you just know we are about to see the proverbial rug being pulled from under foot. What’s left of Jake’s childhood is about to be vanquished—keeping reading to learn more.

With Roland, Susannah, and Jake needed in Calla, Eddie heads back to the era of disco, believing they have made a mistake regarding Tower holding out for money for the lot containing the rose:

Frightened or not, Calvin Tower had been waiting in that deserted laundry mat to save Pere Callahan’s bacon. And frightened or not, Calvin Tower had refused—as of May 31st, 1977, anyway—to sell his last piece of real property to the Sombra Corporation. Eddie thought that Calvin Tower was, in the words of the song, holding out for a hero.

Eddie is that champion, arriving on June 23, 1977, going to Tower’s bookstore and getting the jump on Balazar’s hoods, George Biondi and Jack Andolini (who will end up as lobstrosity food in about a decade). He shakes up Andolini to the point where the thug believes that Eddie will return to kill the families of anyone who harms Tower and then waste the man who does it. He sends away Andolini and Biondi to threaten Balazar.

In Tower’s bookstore, Eddie is startled by the discovery of a book called The Dogan by Benjamin Slightman, Jr., which with other facts about the novel’s publishing history, implicates Ben Slightman the Elder as a tattletale to the Wolves. No big shocker here, though it will be intriguing to see how it affects Jake and his new buddy.

Tower needs to get out of NYC until July 15th, and Eddie instructs him to sign over the rose lot to his ka-tet under the name of the Tet Corporation while in hiding. In return, Tower requests that Eddie safeguard some prized books by taking them through the doorway. Though annoyed by it, Eddie complies. And while he admits to disliking the man, he agrees with Roland that Tower needs to be protected, and both feel Father Callahan is the best man for the job.

One offsetting tonal approach, for this constant reader, was the slight but noticeable breezy moments: at one point Susannah is laughing over her pregnancy, and later she is having a guffaw with the Sisters of Oriza. Maybe it’s just me, but it doesn’t seem natural to these characters considering the circumstances. Just me? Probably. But I hope we can all agree that King’s take on The Magnificent Seven is building to a nice crescendo. There will be blood soon, pilgrim.


What did you think of this week's read? Head to the comments and start/join the conversation!

*Remember: Be careful with your comments—NO SPOILERS! We will be moderating the comments and deleting anything we feel is a spoiler, so pause before you post and make sure you're not ruining it for someone else.
 


The Dark Tower Reread Navagation
Wolves of the Calla Part V | Index | Wolves of the Calla Part VII

 

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David Cranmer is the publisher and editor of BEAT to a PULP. Latest books from this indie powerhouse include the alternate history novella Leviathan and sci-fi adventure Pale Mars. David lives in New York with his wife and daughter.

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2 comments
Alan Williams
1. tontowilliams
The tension is ratcheting up, and all sorts of things are coming out of the woodwork. Andy, Slightman; and I do agree Jake is going to have a significant role. I'm not sure where Susannah / Mia is going to end up. At one stage I thought she was going to go into labour just when she was needed most, but now I'm not so sure.

I wasnt surprised about Father Callahgan's reaction to Roland's request, although his somewhat double standard based on which demonic creature he is prepared to kill / not kill, I think he's set up a new life in Calla and conveniently forgotten his vampire killing past. If I remember correctly he was a reluctant participant in Salems Lot initially, but changed. I'm not sure he would be my first choice to protect Tower though, but he probably is the only choice as the confrontation with the Wolves approaches.
David Cranmer
2. DavidCranmer
Yeah, I like the Father Callahan addition but that anti-abortion angle, considering what he does, seems out of character.
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