The Path To The Dark Tower

The Path To The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger. Inspired by the Richard Browning poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” this is to be Stephen King’s magnum opus. He began writing the first book in 1970 and published parts of this novel in “The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction” in the early 80s.

This epic begins with Roland Deschain, last of the gunslingers of Gilead. He lives in a place that has “moved on” and is on an endless search for “the man in black” who can help him with his quest to seek the Dark Tower. Moving across the desert with his dying mule, he meets up with Brown, dust farmer who has a crow named Zoltan. They sit and speak about Roland’s past adventures leading him up to his current state; which includes the tale of how he went to the town Tull and was caught off guard by a trap set by “the man in black” and he ended up having to kill the entire town.

Roland leaves the next day, giving his dead mule to Brown to eat. He reaches a way station and meets up with a boy named Jake Chambers. Jake was pushed in front of a car and died in his own reality and he ended up here in “mid-world” yet he does not remember any of it. Roland hypnotizes him to find out the details of his death and then erases his memory of it so Jake doesn’t repeat the violence and pain of the experience.

They leave the Way Station and come to a more lush area of land. Jake gets entrapped by “the oracle”. Roland rescues him and ends up having sex with the Oracle to learn of his quest and his fate. This incident has drastic ramifications towards the middle of the series.

Jake and Roland track “the Man in Black” into a cavernous mountain which they take an ancient mining car deep into the recesses of the mountain. They are attacked by “Slow Mutants,” once human monsters mutated by radiation. After surviving the attack, they catch up to the “Man in Black”; but Jake is dangling from the tracks and Roland must choose to either rescue Jake or go after his quarry.

Jake murmurs the cryptic words “Go then, there are other worlds than these,” and letting go, falls to his death. Roland, riddled with guilt goes after “the Man in Black.” When he finally catches up to him, he reads Roland’s fortune with a pack of Tarot cards which tell him he will need to pull three people into this world in order to fulfill his quest for the Dark Tower. The cards are marked “The Sailor,” “The Prisoner,” “The Lady of Shadows,” “Death” and “The Tower.”

The Man in Black attempts to stop Roland from seeking the Dark Tower by showing him how insignificant he is in the scheme of things, but Roland relents so the “Man in Black” casts a spell to put Roland to sleep. He awakens 10 years later on the edge of the Western Sea, a skeleton beside him whom he assumes is “The Man in Black.”