A full list of Stephen King works is located at the bottom of the blog.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Gunslinger Discussion--Weeks Two and Three

I'm updating two weeks in one because I've been so busy and my life is total chaos.  I haven't had much time for reading unfortunately.  I hope you all will accept my apologies.  That being said, I'm really enjoying The Gunslinger the second time around.  Here are more questions that cover the last two chapters, The Way Station and The Oracle and the Mountains.

  1. At one point in Roland's recollections of his boyhood, his father saddles him with what seems on the surface a very troubling, even damning judgment. "It is not your place to be moral," his father says. "Morals may always be beyond you." Then he cryptically suggests that his son's amorality is what will make him " formidable." What does he mean? How does this characterization inform the novel's ensuing action—and the larger journey Roland takes over the course of the entire Dark Tower saga?
  2. What sense, in the flashbacks that occur throughout the novel, does Stephen King provide of what Roland's world was like before it "moved on"?
  3. What kind of a man is Cort? Discuss Roland's ambivalent feelings about his boyhood teacher.
  4. What does Roland learn from the demon in the cellar of the way station? "While you travel with the boy, the man in black travels with your soul in his pocket." What does this mean? And how does the pronouncement bear out, in light of the novel's climax at the edge of the desert?
My thoughts:

1.  I think what his father means is that sometimes morals have to take a back seat to what needs to be done.  Now, I'm not saying I agree with that, but I think in regards to the situation in this series, that is what he means.  That Roland will be formidable because he will not let morals stand in the way of his duties.
2.  It seems that Roland came from privilege and the lifestyle he came from before almost reminds me of the royalty in Medieval times, but he also received the tough training of a knight or soldier.  
3.  I believe that Roland felt that Cort was a cruel taskmaster, but yet his tough treatment was necessary for them to learn what they needed to learn.  Kind of like that tough drill sergeant.
4.  In regards to the first part of this question,  I think the demon's prophecy means that Roland is becoming emotionally attached to the boy which will interfere with what he must do.  So, the man in black has the upper hand, as long as Roland stays attached in that way to the boy.  Of course, in regards to the second part of this question, we're not at the climax yet...or, at least, I'm not so that remains to be seen.

So, how are you all doing on this book?  I hope you will share your thoughts and, again, forgive me for being SO behind.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Gunslinger Week Two Discussion

Sorry for the delay...again.  I hope I'm not the only one running behind.  I will have the full discussion post up by tonight.  Thanks for your patience!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Gunslinger--Week One Discussion

Finally, I'm here with the first discussion! What a day...not a spare moment to post until now.  Anyhoo, on with the talk.  What did you think of the first chapter?  This one is actually a re-read for me, but it's funny, I only vaguely remember it.  I must have been half there when I read it last time.  I think it was over ten years ago when I read it (or around that) and what a difference time makes.  I think my mind is more tuned to dystopian fantasy now than it was before.  I relate familiarity with the genre as the reason.  I found a reading guide and I've included some questions below to contribute to our discussion.  Share your thoughts in the comments and/or leave the link to your blog post.

1.  As we come to know him in the opening pages, what initial impressions do we get of the gunslinger? What is the nature of Roland's quest?

2.  Discuss Stephen King's writing style in The Gunslinger. To what degree is it a departure from the rest of his work? What are some of the stylistic patterns and thematic concerns that The Gunslinger shares with other Stephen King works? 

My responses:
1.  It's hard to get a really good impression of Roland in the beginning.  We know he's tough (killed all those townspeople).  He's also weary.  He strikes me as a lost soul.  As far as the nature of his quest, we know that he is after the man in black, but we don't really know the reason yet.  Is it revenge or the need to eradicate evil?  I'm thinking perhaps it's both.

2.  King's writing style in The Gunslinger is different from the rest of his work, but in certain instances we get some of the old King style.  Like the section on page 13, "Perhaps the campfires are a message, spelled out letter by letter.  Take a powder.  Or, the end draweth nigh.  Or maybe even, Eat at Joe's."  Snicker.  "Eat at Joe's."  Something King would totally say in his other works.  Also, I love Sheb at the saloon playing "Hey Jude" on the piano.  I like how this seemingly old west style ghost town on this world that is not our own is playing that song, not some old time saloon tunes.  Classic!

I have one final question for you relating to the entire series.  There have been rumors for years that there will be a film (or films) based on the books, and more recently I've heard that they're in talks again to actually go ahead with it.  I've heard mention of Russell Crowe as Roland.  I do like him, but I'm picturing someone more like Christian Bale (channeling a bit of his role in "3:10 to Yuma" with a little bit of batman toughness mixed in).  What do you think?  Who do you think would be perfect to portray Roland?

I hope you're enjoying the book so far.  I'll see you next week for Chapter 2!