Last week, the ka-tet lost another at the Battle of Devar-Toi as they free the Breakers and save the beam. This week, the author Stephen King is saved, but at what expense?
The Dark Tower is very close, but our ka-tet is spread far and wide. Roland and Eddie are in 1977 where they have just finished meeting with the author Stephen King. In 1999, Father Callahan and Jake are about to storm The Dixie Pig lounge where Susannah is being held along with Mia, who is about to give birth to an unholy demon: this child has the DNA combo of Roland and Susannah and a “co-father” in the Crimson King. So, we are very close to our destination, the stakes are high, and it’s anybody’s guess who will live to see The Dark Tower.
*Remember: While this is a reread, please avoid spoilers in the comments. The point is to get there together!
The Dark Tower looms on the horizon for both our ka-tet and you, our loyal readers, as we count down the days to the premiere of The Dark Tower film. The plan is to finish the series on the Tuesday before the premiere, so we'll be splitting The Dark Tower into six sections (about 200 pages each) and meeting 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, the author Stephen King is saved, but at what expense? Join us in the comments for a discussion of Part IV of The Dark Tower: PART THREE: In this Haze of Green and Gold, Ves'-Ka Gan!
PART THREE: In this Haze of Green and Gold, Ves'-Ka Gan
Gunslingers Roland Deschain and Jake Chambers are in Maine to save Stephen King’s life or else the search for the Dark Tower is kaput and The Crimson King wins. A woman, Irene Tassenbaum, drives them to where King’s walking along the road. Not a lot of suspense here because we are aware that Jake knows either he or Roland is going to die—and let’s face it, we know Roland has to make that tower or the journey would be unsatisfying to us, King’s “constant reader.” So, making it to King first, Jake pushes the acclaimed author out of the way of the van driven by Bryan Smith.
“JAKE, NO!” Roland bellowed again, but it was too late. The boy he thought of as his son disappeared beneath the blue vehicle. The gunslinger saw one small upraised hand—would never forget it—and then that was gone, too. King, struck first by Jake and then by the weight of the van behind Jake, was thrown to the edge of the little grove of trees, ten feet from the point of impact.
While Irene and Oy stay with a dying Jake—who asks Irene to take Roland to NYC where he will be able to slip back through dimensions—Roland is talking to the “miserable excuse for a man,” as Roland views him (or as King views himself). He is also pissed at King, who he considers lazy and the cause of the death of his friends. But he still needs King to finish the story, so he shows the author the Beam streaking overhead as inspiration, eliciting a promise from King that he will get his shit in order.
After Roland hypnotizes King and Smith to forget that gunslingers were ever there, he returns to Jake, who has already passed away. Irene relates Jake’s dying words, “Tell my father I love him.” Roland buries Jake, wondering if the billy-bumbler will follow him or stay guard over Jake’s grave. But Jake told Oy with his dying breath to follow Roland, so he does.
Irene, who is falling for the gunslinger, drives them to NYC. They stop at a motel on the way where the two have sex, though it’s explained that Roland does it for Irene and not for himself. What a big-hearted lug, eh? He then visits The Tet Corporation and is uplifted to see a picture of Carver, Cullum, and Deepneau (ka-tet of the rose), who came together to fight for the flower and won. He’s even more surprised to find Moses Carver still kicking.
Carver catches Roland up on his life, returns Aunt Talitha’s Cross, and gifts other items to the gunslinger, including a gold watch and King’s novel Insomnia (1994), which allegedly foreshadows certain events. Roland says goodbye to Irene, leaving her the novel because he feels it would mislead him. (Having read the book that could prop open an airplane hangar door myself, he’d never have gotten through it in time.)
Afterward, he and Oy return to Susannah in Fedic via the magic door in The Dixie Pig. Before crossing the transom, he ponders:
So far I’ve traveled, he thought with his hands splayed on the ghostwood door. So far I’ve traveled and so many I’ve hurt along the way, hurt or killed, and what I may have saved was saved by accident and can never save my soul, do I have one. Yet there’s this much: I’ve come to the head of the last trail, and I need not travel it alone, if only Susannah will go with me. Mayhap there’s still enough to fill my basket.
I enjoyed section three of The Dark Tower, especially how Roland was able to see that The Tet Corporation flourished and learn how certain lives like John Cullum played out. Nice touch having Irene say she would plant a rose on Jake’s grave. I'm glad to see Oy sticking with Roland—we know he would have stayed by that grave until he died. Irene was a nice in-and-out character, though I’m still uneasy by the intrusion of the author and the man who almost killed him, Bryan Smith. But because these passages were so well written, I turned a blind eye.
How’s The Dark Tower going for you? Does it look like King is going to deliver with this final shebang?
What did you think of Part III of The Dark Tower? 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.
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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.