The Blogslinger: Blogging The Dark Tower, October 2007–Day 31

Happy Halloween!

Read: Wolves of the Calla–“Prologue: Roont”; “The Face on the Water”; “New York Groove”

I wouldn’t call what King’s doing in these opening sections subtle–repeating certain unexplained phrases regarding life in the Calla over and over so we make sure to catch that there’s a mystery behind them, giving Father Callahan from ‘Salem’s Lot an entrance as big as a Ray Harryhausen monster, brewing up a nice hot glass of instant 19 numerology (just add incessant repetition!), even indulging in a conversation between Roland’s ka-tet about mixed-genre storytelling in which the gunslinger all but turns and winks at the audience. King’s not so much guiding the reader as riding herd.

But while it may not be subtle, it’s definitely intriguing. Years of toiling away in comics criticism have taught me that I should have nothing but contempt for those “hey, look, it’s a character I’m already familiar with!” reveals, but even though I knew it was coming eventually I was still thrilled by Father Callahan’s appearance here in Roland’s world. (Shouldn’t he be a vampire by now, though?) I mean, those kinds of continuity-porn moments are a big part of the Dark Tower-verse’s structure, so it would be churlish to deny myself the pleasure of them because Green Lantern is inaccessible to new readers.

The set-up in this little farming village hooked me, too. It was smart of King to root the prologue in this farmer character Tian. He’s not super-bright (though apparently he’s Mensa material compared to the Calla’s other residents, not even counting the “roont” ones), he’s not super-nice; in fact, he comes across as a bit of a jerk. But that makes his rage against the raiders who loot his twin-heavy town of half their children every generation, then send them back as retarded giants, all the more convincing. If there was any way at all he could stand to take the easier way out of the situation, we know he’d do it. No such luck. He’s as mad as hell and he’s not going to take this anymore.

This leads to the most spaghetti-Western twist in the series so far: the townsfolk, led by Tian and Father Callahan, are going to hire Roland and his band of gunslingers to defend against the raiding Wolves. I for one would love to see the book serve up a straightforward, lead-slinging Western action-adventure, maybe with the occasional robot or vampire thrown in for good measure. I don’t think that’s what I’m going to get–the book’s size, that dopey number 19, and the return of the central-casting mobsters from The Drawing of the Three during Jake, Eddie, and Oy’s interdimensional sojourn back to New York indicate otherwise–but there will be water if God wills it.

One Response to The Blogslinger: Blogging The Dark Tower, October 2007–Day 31

  1. The Blogslinger: Blogging The Dark Tower, October-November 2007–Index

    Here you shall find links to all of the posts in my blogathon reading of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. This post will be updated with each new entry. Day 1: Introduction Day 2: The Gunslinger Day 3: The Drawing…

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