The Drawing of the Three Discussion Week 1
When we left off with Roland and his quest for the Dark Tower, Jake dies because Roland was faced with the “second-most agonizing choice of his life” and chose to sacrifice Jake, his symbolic son. Jake tells Roland, “Go, then. There are other worlds than these.” Roland palavers with Walter. The Man in Black tells Roland about the past, the Universe, and Roland’s future with a deck of Tarot cards. The cards show the Sailor, which is Roland’s card, The Prisoner, The Lady of Shadows, and the Death card… these are the three that Roland will find through the three doors he will find along his quest.
The book ends with Roland watching the sunset on the beach of the Western Sea. The Man in Black is dead. Roland’s future is unclear, and less than 7 hours later we begin The Drawing of the Three on that same beach.
Like the Sailor card from the Tarot deck, Roland wakes to the “grating sound of water with a throat-full of stones.” The “monstrosities (or lobstrosities as they will later be called) and their chant of “Did-a-chik” “Did-a-chum” seem to be symbolic. Roland is crippled by them, hurt in a way that he has never been hurt before, losing the first two fingers on his dominant hand (right). This injury is unexpected, in more than one way (to Roland and to the Constant Reader). Why do you think King choose to do that? How does this change Roland? Do you think that the Prologue was a set up for the tone of the novel? Or do you think it was Ka? As a Constant Reader of King’s work I was surprised, yet not surprised, that Roland was hurt so harshly in the 2nd book. I think Roland needed to be taught a lesson, not to mention that he ends up needed help and Eddie Dean ends up being the one to help him. It changes Roland for the better as the novel progresses, though it does so at a cost, and maybe that’s what it’s about–the cost. King has often said that his characters guide him, that the story itself guides him. To me, the story has unfolded the way it has because of King’s Ka, as well as Roland and his Ka-Tet.
King’s influences for the Dark Tower series are The Lord of the Rings; The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly; King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table; and Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came. Do you feel like the Gunslinger showed these influences? Do you feel the influences in The Drawing of the Three? I can definitely see and feel the influences of LOTR’s, Clint Eastwood and the Good, The Bad, and The Ugly; as well as King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. I read the poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” and you can definitely see how the poem influenced him. The Dark Tower series is a cross between a western, fantasy, a bit of SciFi, and horror.
In The Gunslinger, Roland is shown as a broken, damned man. One who possesses enough humanity to understand his actions, yet lacks enough humanity to change the course of his actions (Ka). Do you think that Roland has grown as a result of his actions? Especially his sacrifice of Jake? I do believe that Roland has grown because of his actions, but especially because of Jake’s sacrifice, which is how I think of it. Jake knew something. Throughout the novel The Gunslinger, Jake was intuitive. Roland even remarks on it (or at least thinks about it).
What do you think about Eddie Dean, the Prisoner? What do you think about Roland’s thoughts while riding piggy back in Eddie’s mind? Eddie Dean is a Prisoner of the drugs, as well as his love for Henry, his ideal of what Henry has done for him…sacrificed for him. Roland is flabbergasted with many of the things he encounters while piggy-backing Eddie’s mind. Because of this, he learns that Eddie has a bit of steel underneath the surface, hidden behind the things that keep him imprisoned. At heart, Eddie is a gunslinger.