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Book presentation: Stephen King’s « The Dark Tower » cycle

Author // DEDENYS Caplice Siobhan
Posted in // general culture, Literature

Hello everyone!

I bet you know Stephen King. You loved the movies adapted from his books. Shining, Mist, Misery, Desolation… no, not The Lawnmower Man. Please. Anyway, great movies, but I think you haven’t read his books (I mean, the books that were not adapted into a movie or a TV show). What a huge mistake. Stephen King is an excellent writer, and almost all of his books are masterpieces. If you have the opportunity, read some, they absolutely worth it. Try to read Cellular, because a film based on it will be out in 2016. Basically, it is a story about people becoming zombies because of their phones (it is a bit more complex than that, but I don’t want to spoil it for you, sorry).

But I’m not writing an article about that. I’m here to talk about the major book series by Stephen King, The Dark Tower series. It’s a set of 8 books that tell the story of Roland of Gilead, travelling the Mid-World to find the Dark Tower. The Mid-World is an imaginary world invented by Stephen King when he was young, alcoholic, and addicted to heroin.

So, here is the background: the Mid-World is a parallel world that has lots of connections with our world. It is a blend of magic, chivalry, post-apocalyptic sci-fi and old westerns. The Mid-World and our world are maintained by 12 Beams, some sort of pure primal energy. The Dark Tower is in the center of all the Beams, and therefore its destruction would end the two worlds. Bad luck, some dark sorcerers want to destroy it, to create another world where they would be gods.

 

The Dark Tower

A concept art made by Guillermo del Torro. No big deal.

The main character is Roland of Gilead, the only remaining Gunslinger, an old order of knights founded by King Arthur. Roland has been trying to find the Dark Tower for years, without success. But somehow, he manages to enter our world and meets his future companions: Eddie, a junkie from the eighties, Odetta, a legless schizophrenic lady from the fifties, and Jake, a kid from the nineties.
Together, they will travel the Mid-World to find the Dark Tower.

latestThis is an un-official map of the Mid-World.

But, you know, sometimes, the journey is more important than the destination. Stephen King created a very complete world, with lots of elements, stories, cities, and characters. Roland and his companions will travel around this world and meet tons of people, villages, enemies, and will hear lots of stories. The places vary a lot from book to book: a post-apocalyptic city with a civil war, the remnants of old kingdoms, small villages with lots of traditions, huge forests, and even a time-travelling station.
The descriptions are very precise and it’s really easy to imagine yourself in that world, imagining extraordinary places, and roaming around with Roland. And if you can’t, there is a lot of fan art on the interwebs.

darktowerlongroad

Another very interesting thing, is that All of King’s books are connected with The Dark Tower series. If you read Black House (Territoires in French), From a Buick 8 (Roadmaster in French), Hearts in Atlantis or even Mist and Shining, you will see connections, sometimes obvious. In Black House, the final part of the story takes place in Thunderclap (Tonnefoudre in French), a very hostile place in the Mid-World. In Hearts in Atlantis, there is even a common character: the main character of this story is helping Roland in the 6th book. But the best and best exploited connection is definitely Mist. If you know the Dark Tower extended universe, you can guess where the mist and the creatures come from. I will not spoil it for you of course, but if you are a fan of Stephen King like I am it is really awesome to have additional knowledge of the stories because you’ve read The Dark Tower.

So, anyway, if you like Stephen King and you have lots of free time (the 8 books are about 4500 pages), give it a shot. It’s totally worth it. Plus, huge news, Sony Pictures decided to fund the Dark Tower movie project, by Guillermo del Torro. So, if you want to say to your friends “Oh my god, the books are SO much better than the movie”, you’d better start reading now 😉

Yours in reading,

Grégoire Meyer

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DEDENYS Caplice Siobhan

English Teacher in Rubika. Started the blog with students hope they keep it alive !

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    18 août 2015 |

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    10 août 2015 |

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  • Mathieu

    22 mai 2015 |

    Very interesting article. Could be usefull to me in 2nd year, that is if LePivain makes us study this one.

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    10 avril 2015 |

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