Last week, we met THE PUSHER—the evil man responsible for killing Jake and hurting Odetta on separate occasions. This week, we close out The Drawing of the Three in dramatic fashion!
Thank you for joining me on a journey of Stephen King’s The Drawing of the Three (1987), the 2nd book in The Dark Tower series. Several of us have just finished a trek through The Gunslinger (1982), which originally was a collection of short stories, later bound together, effectively capturing a world certainly familiar to us—Wild West background set to modern pop tunes—but stirring nightmarish images where time is out of mind and people displaced in various purgatories. The main protagonist, Roland Deschain of Gilead, is obsessed with locating the Dark Tower, so he shadows the man in black, who seems to have answers when confronted, though they are obtusely revealed with a turning over of Tarot cards. The man in black explained that Roland has caught the attention of his superior, who remains unknown, taking an interest in Roland’s endeavors.
*Remember: While this is a reread, please avoid spoilers in the comments. The point is to get there together!
With Stephen King's chapters getting a little strange, the plan is to read a section a week (about 100 pages), and each Tuesday we will meet 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, we close out The Drawing of the Three in dramatic fashion! Join us in the comments for a lively discussion of Part VI—the finale—of The Drawing of the Three: The Pusher, Chapter 4: “The Drawing” – Final Shuffle!
The Pusher, Chapter 4: “The Drawing – Final Shuffle
After Roland pilfered—though paying his way in a forced bartering and charming sort of fashion—from the gun store to the pharmacy, picking up ammunition, guns, and medicine, cops Delevan and O'Mearah, who Roland dropped low like cold mackerel, regain consciousness and are determined to save face. Mistakenly, they go after him and are disarmed an embarrassing second time—but not before Katz’s drug store is shot to hell, ensuring the pocketed Rolex will not be enough to cover the damages. I say, good, because the guy running the store is a dick. (Admirably, Roland doesn’t want to harm the men in blue, because he considers them like-minded gunslingers of the NYC variety.)
Roland decides to allow Jack Mort to recoup some control of his body so Mort can drive the car to Greenwich Village where the A-train is located—the same subway train that severed Odetta’s legs when Mort pushed her onto the rails.
There ensued a short, violent struggle. The gunslinger won, but it was a surprisingly hard go. In his way, Jack Mort was as divided as Odetta. He was not a schizophrenic as she was; he knew well enough what he did from time to time. But he kept his secret self—the part of him that was The Pusher—as carefully locked away as an embezzler might lock away his secret skim.
Two more cops—a bit more prepared—arrive, shooting at Mort/Roland and wounding him. But Roland defuses them just as effortlessly and sets the “horrified but can’t do a damn thing about it” sociopath to the very spot where he had changed Odetta’s life for the worse.
Right before Roland sacrifices Mort’s body, he uses a telepathic message (that he isn't even sure is possible) to Odetta commanding, “THE DOOR! LOOK THROUGH THE DOOR! NOW! NOW!” As Mort’s body is sliced off at the waist, Roland jumps back to his side of the door, seeing in that flash the faces of both Odetta and Detta watching as he passes through. As the two personalities begin acknowledging each other for the first time, the lobstrosities have returned…
Eddie screamed again as one of the lobstrosities asked him did-a-chick? and then tore a swatch of his pants and a chunk of meat to go along with it. Eddie tried another scream, but nothing came out but a choked gargle. He was strangling in Detta's knots.
The things were all around them, closing in, claws clicking eagerly.
What a pulse-pounding collision of the Lady of Shadows’s inner selves merging while the gunslinger and Eddie Dean fight for their lives. Not sure the notion of recoupling the two halves of a split personality by a chance reprisal is likely outside the world of fiction, but that part was dazzlingly executed. Now, Odetta and Detta have drawn a third, stronger woman who comes to Roland and Eddie’s defense, slaying the creature … like a gunslinger.
Dios mio! Was The Drawing of the Three finale action packed or what? From the gun shop to the pharmacy to the train station and back to the beach, the suspense never let’s go. The transition of Odetta/Detta to the new woman now called Susannah Holmes (ah, there’s the name Susannah again) was credibly handled, and this story ends on a sense of fulfillment, which I appreciate.
Of course, it is an interlude of sorts connecting the fragmented short stories of The Gunslinger with the journey that is to come. But the book on its own feels complete, even though we leave the trio having reached the edge of the woods, leaving the Western beach behind. It’s a novel—dare I hyperbole, masterpiece—that stands on its own.
Eddie asks if they are going to die, and Roland waxes spiritual saying that everyone dies but they are going to be hurt, fight, and eventually stand. They are going to be magnificent, Gilead’s wayward son exclaims.
Of this, there is no doubt.
What do YOU think about the ending of The Drawing of the Three? 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.