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Stephen King's Dark Tower movie (Spoiler Alert!)
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peter
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a "Dark Tower" at the centre of the universe which in some unexplained way protects it from the forces of chaos outside (manifested in the film by a number of tentacley things) and which is under attack by a group of faux skin covered reptiles headed by a nasty bad guy (Satan?). A troubled kid with powers he doesn't understand is thrown into uneasy alliance with an enigmatic anti-saviour and together they take up the cause of saving the universe.

That's the story in a nutshell and it doesn't get me. The central theme of good Vs evil in fairness is one that is so ubiquitous that to say that you don't like it is akin to saying you don't like food. I worded my comment badly! Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, my question too. Very Happy (They didn't even get the theme, merely elements of it.)

--A
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry Av - case of crossed posts I think!
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So...the Tower is the linchpin of all realities. (The worlds of all of King's books intersect on its levels.) The troubled kid actually has no powers. (And indeed, dies twice in the books.) The nasty bad guy has quite little to do with the attempts to destroy reality, that's really the province of The Crimson King. Flagg is more of a rogue operator, actually just out for himself.

The big point really is the wheel of Ka, (fate / destiny), the eventual (maybe) redemption of Roland, a tragic and flawed figure who is the last remnant of a better, more "noble" age, an agent of order, (the White) who is essentially chained to the cycle of Samsara until he overcomes himself.

Saving the Tower is just a side-effect...he can't get into it unless it's saved, and getting into the Tower, (winding his horn) is his entire raison d'etre.

In Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came, Robert Browning wrote:
My first thought was, he lied in every word,
That hoary cripple, with malicious eye
Askance to watch the working of his lie
On mine, and mouth scarce able to afford
Suppression of the glee, that purs'd and scor'd
Its edge, at one more victim gain'd thereby.

What else should he be set for, with his staff?
What, save to waylay with his lies, ensnare
All travellers who might find him posted there,
And ask the road? I guess'd what skull-like laugh
Would break, what crutch 'gin write my epitaph
For pastime in the dusty thoroughfare,

If at his counsel I should turn aside
Into that ominous tract which, all agree,
Hides the Dark Tower. Yet acquiescingly
I did turn as he pointed: neither pride
Nor hope rekindling at the end descried,
So much as gladness that some end might be...


...Of all the lost adventurers my peers,-
How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
And such was fortunate, yet each of old
Lost, lost! one moment knell'd the woe of years.

There they stood, ranged along the hill-sides, met
To view the last of me, a living frame
For one more picture! in a sheet of flame
I saw them and I knew them all. And yet
Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
And blew "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came."



King wrote:
Now hold up your heads and be of good cheer, for you have lived to see the return of the White, and the wheel of Ka begin to turn once more.


--A
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
There is a "Dark Tower" at the centre of the universe which in some unexplained way protects it from the forces of chaos outside (manifested in the film by a number of tentacley things) and which is under attack by a group of faux skin covered reptiles headed by a nasty bad guy (Satan?). A troubled kid with powers he doesn't understand is thrown into uneasy alliance with an enigmatic anti-saviour and together they take up the cause of saving the universe.

Yes, that's the "plot" ... not the "theme". Avatar hits on some themes, but the overarching theme of the series is really a giant metaphor about being an author (IMHO). The Dark Tower is the elusive goal of every story (story=universe), forever chased, rarely reached, and when you reach it, you're really left with nothing but starting all over again on a new draft. Roland is the character whose actions are puppeteered by the author, driven by goals that he cannot shake because he was written that way.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a beautiful enigmatic piece of verse Av, and a thought provoking little set of ideas from you Wayfriend. I cannot but help but wonder if there is not more for consideration in those two posts than there would be in the reading of King's five, six? novel series. He would have to turn those ides like a diamond examining them from ever facet of their perception to make the effort worth while - does he achieve this? I've read a few of his world and at times he tells a good tale; but has he stature enough to take on the big themes in a meaningful way? I'm not so sure.

Another problem I'd have is his reputation for loosing interest in his work before reaching the end ........ and it showing. Does he finish this epic series on a high - or does it fizzle out like the proverbial damp squib? If I'm going to tackle a work of that magnitude I've got to be absorbed into it; the candle has to be worth the wick.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You do like to ask the difficult questions, don't you?

(Trust WF to get all meta about it. Wink In an overarching sense, I have no doubt the WF is correct...his interpretation of Kings meta-intent always impressed me. Personally, I tend to think of things like this only in terms of the story itself. That's why I'm generally a relatively uncritical reader.)

The epic poem by Browning was always the loose inspiration for the series of 7 books. (8 if you include a later written interlude (Wind Through The Keyhole) and there's a related short story, Little Sisters of Eluria too.)

If you include all of the books which touch on or are touched by the Dark Tower, then I'm not sure how many...maybe 15, maybe more.

You can read the whole poem here: http://www.bartleby.com/246/654.html

Whether he achieves that goal is something each reader needs to decide for himself. Very Happy

Personally, despite a few weak spots (like book 6) I think he manages it. The end is one of those polarising issues (there are actually a couple of those toward the end of the books) that you will either appreciate as being fitting, or hate. (The GF hated it for instance.)

Although I struggled at first, I did come to terms with it, and by my second read, decided that it was good.

There are still parts I don't like, but they are far outweighed by the parts I do like.

As for him losing interest, I don't think he did. However, that said, I do think that he rushed the last two books. They came out not too long after he was in that accident, hit by a car, and I think that he got a serious taste of mortality, and feared he might not live to finish them at the pace he'd previously been going. (Which was what, 1 book every 10 years? Very Happy ) (Ok, not really, but that's how it felt while waiting for them.)

Personally, I think they're the best books he ever wrote, and one of the best fictional worlds out there. I also think that Roland Deschain is perhaps arguably the best "fantasy" character ever.

I also think that the opening line of The Gunslinger is the best line King ever wrote.

Quote:
The man in black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed.


--A
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
The end is one of those polarising issues (there are actually a couple of those toward the end of the books) that you will either appreciate as being fitting, or hate.

That's a sign of having created something significant, IMO. The ending wouldn't be polarizing if you aren't invested when you got to the end.

You really have to think of Dark Tower as a medium-good story with a lot of very good bits. King has always been more a master of a character and scene than one of plot. The characters in this story are great. And there are many moments where King completely rips your balls off when he reaches a literary crescendo. (Like that moment in WaG where one by one a character gets "the drop" on another.)

This is probably what most cannot be forgiven by this adaptation.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think they're his very best work, but many of the books are in my personal King's Top Ten. I ranked the first and last DT books lower than the rest. A couple I really enjoyed. The overall series is quite an epic journey.

I like the thematic ending to the series, but not its execution. Approaching the Tower was one of the most disappointing sequences in the whole series. Once at the Tower, I liked the rest. I do like the metastory that is going on, but you don't really have to read the connected novels to get it. Salem's Lot is probably the only one that is a must read for this story, but that's only for one particular character's backstory.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok - I'm sold; not by the film but by you guys commenting amongst yourselves. I have too much respect for all of your opinions not to realise that there has to be something in the books to generate such depth of feeling. I'll take up the series again. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

See if you can get the original DT1, not the "revised" version. (It really annoyed me that he did that.)

(And WF, I love that scene in W&G...always end up laughing my ass off when it happens. Very Happy )

--A
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter, come create your own "journey" thread in the Stephen King Forum when you read the books. Several of us have done that, and the input back from fellow Watchers as you first experience the series and tie in books is so enriching it is priceless.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, Menolly - will do. Why did he revise the series? That's an odd thing for an author to do; we are used to seeing film directors doing it, but tend to expect a written work to appear as the author chooses (or perhaps this is just nieveity in respect of my understanding of the process of publication).
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

He only revised book 1 (so far and as far as I know) to add a bit of things that become "thematic" later in the series. Can't tell you without spoiling things, but (as far as I know) it's really just cosmetic changes.

--A
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Ok - I'm sold; not by the film but by you guys commenting amongst yourselves. I have too much respect for all of your opinions not to realise that there has to be something in the books to generate such depth of feeling. I'll take up the series again. Very Happy


You will get caught up in these books, you will experience a great deal of enjoyment and maybe even revise your opinion of Stepehen King's writing upwards a few notches (some of the scenes in The Waste Lands, for example, are among the best writing the man has ever done).

Then you will be brutally disappointed later in the series.

These are my two predictions and two warnings to you before you begin reading/continuing this series of books. Let me know if they were correct or not.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not unlike another author I could mention...........

Wink
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think he really dropped the ball until the last book, and it's good in parts. Others here will disagree (looking at you, Av), but I like book 6 and especially 5.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aside.....

(Do you think the Nietzsche quote under your posts Z, means that we should concentrate our efforts (thinking wise) on earthly things and not on the 'spiritual' aspects of being?)
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finally saw the film. I liked the casting of the two leads. The visuals are quite good. That's about it. Terrible CGI. Incomprehensible story. No relationship to the source material. Built-in goodwill squandered.


The series of books wasn't about being an author and the process of writing until the accident. The tone, the plot, the theme(s), and the story changed dramatically after that. It sunk the series. There's things I like that came after W&G, but the story changed dramatically, and not for the better.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
I don't think he really dropped the ball until the last book, and it's good in parts. Others here will disagree (looking at you, Av), but I like book 6 and especially 5.


I can't endorse books 6, 5, and even 4 when compared to books 2 and 3. They almost seem like entries from a different series. Pacing and tone are way off.

Will admit that 6 and 7 accelerate the mess, but the entire sequence is disappointing to me. They could have been so much more.
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