Last week, we got a story within a story within a story. This week, we reveal the Skin-Man in a terrifying scene as we close out The Wind Through the Keyhole!
In Wizard and Glass, we discovered that Roland had accidentally killed his mother and returned a crystal ball from Maerlyn’s Rainbow to his father. His newest ka-tet—Jake, Susannah, Eddie, and Oy—are following The Path of the Beam when they encounter Marten, now calling himself Randall Flagg, in a twisted version of Emerald City. Roland just misses killing Flagg but managed to gun down Andrew Quick, aka Tick-Tock Man, who was working for Flagg.
The Wind Through The Keyhole was written to chronologically follow Wizard and Glass even though it was released in 2012, long after the 7th novel, The Dark Tower (2004). For that reason, we have decided to continue Roland’s adventures in sequential order since Stephen King calls it The Dark Tower 4.5.
Come join us … before the world moves on.
*Remember: While this is a reread, please avoid spoilers in the comments. The point is to get there together!
This is a shorter book with only five sections, so the plan is to split the book into three parts (about 100 pages each) 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, we reveal the Skin-Man in a terrifying scene as we close out The Wind Through the Keyhole! Join us in the comments for a discussion of Part III of The Wind Through the Keyhole: The Skin-Man (Part 2) – Storm's Over!
The Skin-Man (Part 2) – Storm's Over
“And so it happened, once upon a bye, long before your grandfather’s grandfather was born,” Roland says, finishing his story to Bill Streeter. Young Bill asks some follow-up questions on Tim Ross—who went on to become a famed gunslinger—and glimpses us yet another future story King can tell if it strikes his fancy.
Meanwhile, Jamie DeCurry has escorted 21 suspects, and Roland buys each of the hardscrabble workers two whiskeys apiece. He has them lined up at the bar surrounded on both ends and from behind. His plan, as weak as it is, is that whoever makes for the exit is probably the bad guy. (The older Roland admits assuming that the Skin-Man would confess to having a horse was naive.)
Ten of them are revealed to have blue rings around their ankles and are marched off to jail to pass in front of Bill. He was nervous but bolstered his intentional fortitude with the story of Tim Ross. Also, in the proverbial nick of time, he remembers an added detail of the Skin-Man’s tattoo that it had been broken “by a thick white scar that ran all the way to his knee.” Roland is prepared with a specially designed bullet from the blacksmith, a silver one.
The guilty party is identified as Ollie Ang, who quickly morphs into a towering snake, consuming two salties.
There were yells and screams of horror from the head of the aisle as the other salties stampeded. I paid them no notice. I saw Jamie wrap his arms around the snake’s growing, swelling body in a fruitless attempt to pull it out of the dying Steg Luka’s throat, and I saw the enormous reptilian head when it tore its way through the nape of Luka’s neck, it’s red tongue flicking, its scaly head painted with beads of blood and bits of flesh.
Roland, who needs to get a head shot, has trouble zeroing in on the cranium until Ang’s face appears. He squeezes off the silver bullet, bringing down the Skin-Man for good. I found the reveal to be horrifyingly tops—in a scene reminiscent of the climax of John Carpenter’s The Thing.
Mission completed, they travel back to Serenity in hopes Everlynne will find a home for Bill. She does. And that revelation for Roland: Gabrielle had left a letter for her son in Everlynne’s safekeeping. In it, she reveals that she was told by Marten that Roland would kill her. She begs Roland’s forgiveness and offers her forgiveness in return.
There was a little more, words I traced over and over during my wandering years after the disastrous battle at Jericho Hill and the fall of Gilead. I traced them until the paper fell apart and I let the wind take it—the wind that blows through time’s keyhole, ye ken. In the end, the wind takes everything, doesn’t it? And why not? Why other? If the sweetness of our lives did not depart, there would be no sweetness at all.
Damn, but that was some nice closure of sorts—or as much as you can have when you are tricked into killing your mother. Susannah asks if Roland forgave her, and after a long spell the answer was “yes.”
I got thoroughly lost in the world of Tim, The Covenant Man, etc. I see the story of Tim served mainly to give Bill Streeter strength in facing the Skin-Man but, besides being marvelously entertaining, it also revealed new insights into not just the Gabrielle/Roland relationship but the younger Stephen Deschain and other gunslingers like Tim Ross, aka Stoutheart, and Jamie DeCurry.
And, now, back to the Path of the Beam as Roland leads his ka-tet to the Dark Tower. Up ahead: Wolves of the Calla.
What did you think of The Wind Through the Keyhole? 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|
|The Wind Through the Keyhole Part II||| Index |||Wolves of the Calla Part I|
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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.