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Ending of the Dark Tower Series

Discussion in 'Stephen King' started by Chimeco, Mar 3, 2005.

  1.  
    DarkTree

    DarkTree New Member

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    YES. Keep this in mind fellows, or go back and re-read the books. The ending was EXACTLY how it should of been. Roland had to do this again, because he had again proved he was not fit to reach his goal. Though he was damn close. Which is why he has the horn when he's back in the desert. This is foreshadowing his final journey where he won't use his friends as means for an end.
     
  2.  
    Bishizzop

    Bishizzop New Member

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    It sounds like a few people have the original Gunslinger and the revised edition confused. Personally, the revised edition seems more like book 8 than anything else. It helps me cope with the perplexing ending.

    I think it is obvious what happened at the end of The Dark Tower. He is doomed to repeat his quest until (most likely) he can blow his horn at the foot of the tower. I agree with the general consensus of this forum that he obtained his horn by some act of redemption through this life.

    I think a good way to look at this book is through the lens of Buddhism, although this is probably not the way King looked at it. In Buddhism, life is an endless cycle of suffering (known as Samsara). This suffering exists because the sufferer has desires. In Roland's case, his desire is the Dark Tower. In order to free oneself from this endless cycle and achieve Nirvana, one must live a life free from desires. If they live honorable lives, they are reborn with an opportunity to live in a state that is potentially closer to obtain Nirvana.

    I believe such is the case with Roland. He has learned to love and feel compassion (although it is difficult to say how much love he learned from his previous reincarnations--King implies there are numerous ones). But we definitely see him grow from book 1 to 7. And we see that he is more compassionate about those left behind in book 8. After book 7, this might even be in 19th time to make this journey. That would make sense.

    I think the question we should all be trying to answer here, is not what happened at the end of The Dark Tower, because that is obvious. But rather what is going to happen when he is able to blow his horn at the foot of the Tower. I would like to say that the Tower crumbles and every existence dies. It is a rather grim outlook, but it is consistent with what he says when he first sees in the Tower within the pink ball in Book 4. In reality, I think Roland would just drop dead, with a smile on his face. He learns love, learns compassion and is finally able to free himself from his endless life of suffering. Of course that is inconsistent with what I previously said, because his desire for the Tower is still there. Maybe with his next incarnation, he leaves with Oy through the door the Artist draws.

    But, yes, I think King copped out on the ending. It's BS that he tells us to appreciate the journey more than the end, because when you make a book series that spans 34 years, all the while talking about what is at the top of the Tower, the constant readers will undoubtedly want to know what is at the top of the damn Tower. Plus, I'm not a writer. He is. I don't want to make up my own ending for someone else' work. That is just lazy writing.

    edit: Apparently King goes into much detail about the Crimson King, young Roland and his intentions for the Dark Tower in the graphic novels he made. In case you don't know about them, they were written by King and created by Marvel Comics. They detail what happened after Mejis all the way up to the battle at Jericho Hill. I have not read them yet, a coworker did, but I wouldn't let him tell me anything about them.
     
  3.  
    Jake Reynolds

    Jake Reynolds Wordslinger

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    I thought the end was perfect, and I had no problem with Stephen writing himself in as a god, if not the god. The ending was great- I think this whole happy, saving Susan Delgado ending would have been a slap in the face, for me anyways. The fight for the tower is endless, and I rather had the impression that Roland's bag that he began the Gunslinger with contained goodies not from the old world, as such, but rather his previous attempts.

    Who knows what difference the horn will make, what difference the loss of his fingers will make, what difference his relationship with his ka'tet will make? This is reflective of the constant struggle between light and darkness, where Roland restores the balance rather than wins or loses.

    I love the idea that it didn't end, because somehow there is comfort in the thought that Roland is out there somewhere, walking the trail to protect us all.
     
  4.  
    40ozFist

    40ozFist New Member

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    I thought the ending was perfect. To me the whole point of the series was the final destination to anything does not matter as much as the experience of the journey. The tower was a metaphor for Rolands life. When he reached it, it was a shrine to his existance. To me it was clear that each one of us is our own personal dark tower. Roland having to repeat everything is fitting. To me he was so obssesed with getting to this tower everything else was second to it. He missed out on the point to life. Because of this, he's doomed to repeat it. I thought it was brilliant.
     
  5.  
    Heck Tate

    Heck Tate The Fleet Footed

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    I've read the series twice now and to me the question at the end is not did SK cheat the reader out of a real ending, but is there a better ending in literary history? There's not a single person in the world who hasn't looked back at their life and wondered how it might have proceeded if different actions were taken. IMO, King sums up this feeling perfectly. How many times must a man rewalk his own steps until he acts perfectly in the eyes of his ideal creator? Likely many...
     
  6.  
    Judderman

    Judderman The Iceman cometh

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    Wow what a series, and what a thread. Like other threads on this site it may be spread over a long time but there are plenty of very well thought out posts. I agree with many of the posts, both for and against the way the finale and general story was written. I see why S.King wanted to stop the story at the tower entrance but that would have been a cop-out after all that time. The eventual ending was as good as we could hope for. An ok but weaker alternative would be him seeing something wonderous and then dieing, his quest complete.
    I read the books over a period of over two years. This meant I wasn't desperately building up my hopes about the finale over many years and also meant I could read completely different things inbetween rather than dashing through the series. That was a good pace and overall it was a great ride. Compared to S.King's books in general, where often nothing exciting happens for large chunks of the story, I think this is his best work. Though The Shining is a classic.
    Was anyone else shocked when the lobstrosity snipped off Roland's finger?! It wasn't till Rita was killed in Dexter (TV series) that I was more shocked by a story. After all it seemed that his two hand quick draws would be one of his main features in the series. Great moment. It did spoil the start of the 2nd book slightly that this moment was already revealed.
    There are fantastic characters, Roland and Walter of course included. Those who like Oy the most must be dog lovers. :)

    I agree that having the horn gives the idea that Roland will have more success/happiness on his next attempt. I don't think it is a neverending groundhog day as if he doesn't reach the top of the Tower he wont have a chance to restart/complete it. He only just made it despite some close shaves, so i think this time could have been his first. Walter's comment in the Gunslinger about never understanding though implies he must have tried more than once.
    The last 3 books do have some ropey parts, such as the Tick-Tock man's death, but I still thoroughly enjoyed them.
    That S.King puts himself in the story and references some of his other stories doesn't really aid the story (possibly detracts due to a slightly arrogant approach). But I reckon long time fans of his may appreciate many of the references. His comments in the afterword don't reflect well on his real character either, but then that is not part of the story itself.
    The points about time in the keystone world do show a flaw in the ending that King forgot, a forgiveable one.

    I'm sure another novel on some of Roland's early adventures would be well received, with no need for the sci-fi element. You would know Roland would survive but it would be bound to be fun!
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
  7.  
    Judderman

    Judderman The Iceman cometh

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    Yes, does remind a bit of what the team that made Lost said- It is the mysteries, journey and character that is important.
    But that is an excuse for a slipshod end. The difference is The Dark Tower had a good ending.
     
  8.  
    OneTwoThreeBee

    OneTwoThreeBee New Member

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    When I finished the final book after such a long time of reading it all, I was awestruck. The ending has seemed, even after two weeks, to have some sort of haunting vibe to it. I find myself reading through sections of the books over and over again simply to find answers to the infinite questions I have. And now thinking about it, throughout the books, all of the unanswered questions that were left by the end are somewhat answered in the midst of the series itself. When I reached the Coda, I sped right through it and didn't really pick up all of the details, so of course I read through it again and realized what I missed. Roland was put back at the beginning, with little or no recollection of his previous journeys to the Tower, and this time with the horn. It leaves you wondering how many times had this journey repeated itself? And even by reading the very small section of reading after he has been "reset", you can already tell that he is not as callus and cold-hearted as he was at OUR beginning. This goes on to ask another question, what was he like at the real beginning? How has his journey been altered over time and how will it continue to be altered? WILL it ever end? These are few of many that run through my head every time I look at the books. I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a very mind-boggling read. I admit it has it's flaws, but really? don't be a goddamn critic. You have to give King credit for this magnum opus that he has cooked up over the years. God listen to me, I'm rambling on again. I'm just going to end this post by telling you that this series will probably run through my head for the rest of my life. Goodbye.
     
  9.  
    theta001

    theta001 New Member

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    It's been a few years since I finished the series and I've had no desire to reread or relisten to it because of the pathetic way it ends.

    Two main problems with the ending:

    1. Roland's stubborness was not an obvious theme to the series. It only seems to have been hammered home at the end. I don't like it when authors throw some characterstic, event or fact in at the end to justify the ending. Roland came across as determined and dedicated moreso than stubborn throughout the series.

    2. I'm hazy on the details, but the dark tower called him out from what I remember of book four. I think it was through the pink crystal ball. The dark tower dared him to conquer it. It wasn't some journey that Roland decided to do on his own.

    Given these two problems, it seemed cruel, if not unfair, for Roland to be made to repeat his journey. I don't think the horn will make a lick of difference. Who know's how many times he has already used the horn to no avail, just condemned to repeat the journey over and over again.

    It really is too bad. This series had such great potential. Unfortunately, even though King created one of the greatest characters in fiction (Roland of Gilead), he condemned him to a pointless existence. Such a waste! And that is exactly how I felt when it was over. What a wast of time.

    King should have ended it with Book 5. The last two books seemed rushed and out of sync with the rest. Some mention that the last three books suck, but I think that is because they group the first four books together and the last three books together, since the last three books took forever to be written and released. I enjoyed book 5, except for Eddie's demise, but I'll take it if the series would have had a happy ending for Roland.
     
  10.  
    Judderman

    Judderman The Iceman cometh

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    I don't think that not having a happy ending makes a series bad at all. More likely it helps it to be interesting.
     
  11.  
    Crypt Rat

    Crypt Rat Blasphemer

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    I just finished the series only minutes ago, and immediately went to Google to find other people's thoughts on the ending. Personally I feel that (as many others here have said) it really COULDN'T have ended another way, and when I closed the book, I had to say "Wow." out loud. I didn't see it coming, although I figured he would get screwed in the end somehow. I thought he was going to get locked out on one of the balconies, actually. I even considered stopping where Stephen King asked us to, but as with Roland, I HAD to know what was there.

    My only issues with the series are as follows, however trivial they may be:

    RANDALL FLAGG/WALTER O'DIM. It may seem like such a small thing, but I loved that character, even though he was a "villain" and he died in a very poor way for all his supposed power. An immortal wizard/trickster done in by a baby. And if Mordred could freeze Walters mind, why couldn't he do the same to Roland? I also don't like the picture of him that was given right before his death, it makes Walter look like Bill Maher, and destroys whatever vision we had concocted of his appearance from the text(Really? A Watchmen button?). Personally I felt that Randall should have been the true antagonist, and the Crimson King was sort of thrown in there. For a time, I thought that Randall Flagg WAS the Crimson King, and would be revealed as such later, even after his "death". Seeing him go like that was sad.

    The Crimson King could have been handled better as well. Obviously a fight between he and Roland would have been optimal, but sometimes that's a difficult thing to properly manage through writing(how would you have had him die?). Especially considering CK was a god of sorts, and it was said that since he already killed himself, Rolands guns would have no effect.

    I also didn't like Susannah much as a character(incoming rage), and was disappointed to see that she lasted so long honestly. I was hoping she would be the first to go. Her Detta-talk straight from the second book was too much for me, and constantly hearing about her being carried to-and-fro was tiresome. (Why didn't Patrick draw her some legs? I was next to positive that was coming at some point.)

    What was with the Sneetches, Dr. Doom Masks, and lightsabers by the way? The part where the Wolves outfits and weapons were described completely tore me out of the story, and was never properly explained. They could have easily been original weapons, there was no need for them to be out of a Harry Potter book et cetera.


    Anyway, it seems I've ranted quite a bit more than I originally meant to, so let me just say: These small qualms aside, this was hands-down the best book series I've ever read, and enjoyed it beginning to end. Let's hope the movies turn out as well as they could.

    Thankee sai King, long days and pleasant nights.
     
  12.  
    HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in fer me

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    Hello Crypt Rat and welcome to the Chrons! Feel free to stick around. Place becomes a bit addictive after a while. And always nice to see people posting in the King section. Every Constant Reader is a friend of mine.

    Gotta agree with the stuff about Randall. He's an awesome character, not just here but in the other books in which he pops up (as King's characters are wont to do). Getting munched on by a baby spider seems a bit of a poor and anticlimactic ending for him. If King can bow to perceived fan pressure and give Eddie and co. a nice, rosy ending, he could have ended Randall in a more spectacular manner!

    I recently got a friend reading this series and he's just reached the part where the razor flying balls are introduced. I didn't tell him what they were (although I dunno if he knows Harry Potter anyway) but I did say I'm pretty ambivalent about all that stuff. I don't know why they were needed. It's been a while since I've read the series, so I can't remember if anything is mentioned in the story itself. Maybe it's just showing the weaving of popular culture, nature of stories, different levels of the Tower. *Shrugs*
     
  13.  
    Crypt Rat

    Crypt Rat Blasphemer

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    Thank you, I'm a fairly avid book reader, and may wind up sticking around as you suggested :)

    I actually just started The Stand right after I finished The Dark Tower, and was happy to find that Randall Flagg is in this book as well(apparently his first appearance in the Stephen King books).

    Also, I read The Eyes of the Dragon a long while ago and I guess either forgot or just never made the connection until Wikipedia reminded me :D

    I think it's really cool that he is in many different stories, and it makes me happier knowing that this pitiful ending doesn't necessarily have to be the end of him in a literary sense.


    OH! I meant to ask about the Gunslinger graphic novels, are they a good read? The illustrations seemed very cool but I didn't look into it much past that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011
  14.  
    HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in fer me

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    Now how about that, I though The Eyes of the Dragon was one of his earliest books. Probably just thinking that 'cos it was one of the first I read. I guess The Stand is Randall's first appearance, then. Even before Gunslinger. I wonder if King had The Man in Black as Randall from that very first line. Or if he had one of those author 'glee!' moments later on in the series when he realised he could turn Walter into Randall.

    I keep reaching the halfway point of The Stand and running out of steam, but that seems like Randall's best appearance. Although I do like his bonkers medieval character in Eyes.... He also has a brief appearance in Insomnia I believe. But then so does The Crimson King, The Tower, and even Roland in an odd way; very much a Tower book, that one.


    I only have the first graphic novel, which pretty much covers the stuff we already know as told in Wizard and Glass. The illustrations are indeed awesome, especially the one with The Crimson King surrounded by the bends o' the bow. I don't know about the rest of the novels and what they cover. Should, really, as I assume it covers all the bits we don't know leading up to the infamous Point of Return for Roland in the desert.
     
  15.  
    Jake Reynolds

    Jake Reynolds Wordslinger

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    I thought the ending was great, and suitably epic and tragic, just as the journey was. I have spoken to a number of people who have wished for a happy ending, but that isn't what Roland is. Roland is defined by his quest, and he exists because of it (whether stubborn or determined, and one may argue whether or not there is a difference between them- I like to think he is stubbornly determined).

    What did people want? Some lame thing where he reaches the tower and gets sent back in time to blow the horn and save his mates and Susan Delgado, living out eternity playing the odd game of poker with Cort and sending David the Hawk out a huntin'? Not very Stephen King. I like the idea that Roland is still out there somwhere, protecting the tower on his endless quest to right the wrongs of existence.
     
  16.  
    Roland_Of_Gilead

    Roland_Of_Gilead New Member

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    I've also finished the series and I'm somehow confused. Practically I didn't care how it would end as long as it ends while the basic parts and mechanisms of the story were explained. That most surely didn't happen. The most basic thing left unexplained is what's wrong about time. How can Roland get thrown back in time? Is Roland's world, the world that has "moved on", a constant loop that is triggered every time Roland reaches the top of the tower? And how does that affect Eddie and Suzan that keep existing every time behind the doors? Do the doors every time lead to another universe or all the other universes apart from the Basic World( SK's World) follow Roland's in the repeating loop? And does the Basic World really advance no matter what happens? Or does it follow Roland's to the time loop too? I believe this is the most confusing part of them all; this time thing. Now some of the other stuff that I thought after the ending of the series:
    - Roland as most of you pointed at the start didn't blow his horn cause he didn't had it on his possession, that's right. But also if I'm not mistaken, I also believe that he made a promise to Talitha, to put her cross to the base of the Tower, which he did not. That's also an indicator that he didn't do everything according to his gunslinger code.
    - Although this time he actually DID something right. He did something right in this journey, and that's why he gains the horn the next time. It could be something mental, like caring about his Ka-Tet, or for ex. not giving up on Suzana that easily and stuff... But it also could be something more specific, something way bigger that I'm missing. Some certain action the gunslinger made that was on the right track.
    - Also I thought a little bit about all this try to save the single rose from the Basic World. The Tet's motives on why saving the rose were always obscure; they just believed it shouldn't reach Cobra's hands. So maybe the rose must be some kind of connection between the worlds. It may represent the Good. And the black thirteen that's kept in the Twin Towers may represent the Bad. But in 11 September 2001( in the specific loop SK described it's 99') the Black Thirteen will be destroyed and maybe then the Tower's charm will stop regardless of Roland's actions.
    - Notice in the books how many times Roland is described as being extremely aged, much more so than he should have been. This is because he is in a never-ending time loop. These fit's in with what I read earlier in the topic about how easily Suz, Ed & Jake acquired their gunslinger talents.
    - One of my other thoughts is that the gunslinger actually didn't need to go for the Tower at all. The three guys back at Crimson King's Castle where telling the truth from the very beginning; Roland Ka-Tet's job ended when they destroyed the Beam-Breaking facility. They pointed themselves throughout the story after the Beam-Breaking facility that the Beam was getting stronger; it was "fixing" itself and thus fixing all the other Beam's as well. The Basic World wasn't at stake. The man in black was dead, Modred was on the loose (and maybe was the only one who should be encountered before reaching his father) and Crimson King was traped in the DT for the eternity. Even time started to flow normally; Roland tested it with his golden watch. It was finally Roland's curiosity that won't let the world stabilize. His curiosity and his irrational need to reach the top of the Tower trigger the time loop.
    - Patrick Danville !!!! What's up with this guy??? He just appear's, destroy's Roland's biggest enemy, sends Suz back to another universe and then just walks off and disappears ?? I tried to find an anagram to his name but i could not ...
    That was some scarce thoughts about the whole thing, I may come up with some more in the future ... If remember something that didn't occur like I said pardon me; I just finished the book and posted so I'm a little bit dizzy :p
     
  17.  
    No One

    No One Orange Aide ;)

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    As I noted elsewhere, I'm fine with the coda. I like it. After coming so far how could anyone not just, well, sink and despair right along with Roland at seeing the desert at the top of the tower (that despair may have been unsatisfactory for some readers, but it was the emotive point of the series. I've still not read much of King - relatively speaking - but even I got that).

    As said by 'Roland of Gilead' himself above me, my real gripe with the ending is with the Crimson King. I kinda assumed that Patrick Danville was another of King's characters. I haven't the foggiest one way or t'other. What matters is that his introduction seemed plain unnecessary to me (one question: why didn't Suze just have him draw her a pair of legs!?).

    Still, the greatest disappointment, now that I've had more time to think on it, is that King has told us one thing - i.e: it's the journey that matters, not the conclusion - while doing the exact opposite; finishing the story at cost to it's overall quality.

    I won't go on (did that already, about the good stuff and the bad, with the former outweighing the latter overall), but I'm wondering if anyone else is utterly shocked in retrospect that King - with his many references to music - didn't use a single Guns 'n' Roses song!

    ARRRGH! ...excuse me, someone just crept up behind me...
     
  18.  
    virtualhazza

    virtualhazza New Member

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    I must confess that I was disapointed with the ending. I think I understand though. My theory is that the Dark Tower being the centre of all the multiverses is so complacted and beyond our scope of intellect that it was truely impossible for Stephen King to describe it to us in perfect detail. Therefore he needed a way out.
     
  19.  
    IbeHAWAIIAN

    IbeHAWAIIAN Bouncer of 2 cent checks

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    Aloha all,

    I bought my son a Kindle two years ago (its a great thing when youʻre kids get old enough for you to buy them stuff that you really want for yourself) and kind of just bought the 1st DT book by accident (or ka). I love SKʻs films and figured Iʻd try a book. I got hooked and read the whole series in a few months. I LOVED the series as a whole. Of course, you have to take the good with the bad but all in all.... it all fit. Last month I started to re-read the series and I find it way more enjoyable this second time around (right now Roland and his ka-tet has just left the party at the Mayorʻs house in Mejis). This time I can focus more on the details because I know the whole story. With that being said, Iʻm really glad that I stumbled across this forum. For the past 2 years Iʻve often thought of my own conclusions on why/what happened to Roland after being sent back to the desert following the man in black and up until 20 minutes ago had NO IDEA (or not remembered) that Roland gained possession of the Horn this time around.

    my 2 cents about the horn: somewhere in this new time around heʻll realize that he has the horn and that he shouldnʻt have the horn. Having the horn KNOWING that the horn was lost years ago will somehow click in his brain and change the way the story unfolds this time around. Similar to how he was explaining to Eddie about the jawbone he gave to Jake and the jawbone he got from the man in black.
     
  20.  
    dlsevern

    dlsevern Science fiction fantasy

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    I felt that the story got better and better as the series progressed and absolutely loved the ending.
     
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