In the kingdom of Delain, there lived a king named Roland. The details beyond that are a little fuzzy, mostly because everything is a jumbled version of Roland’s life in the Dark Tower. But: he’s a warrior king who kind of doesn’t like chicks. But: he finds a nice girl to settle down with who he can only bang when he’s drunk on magic potions from the court conjurer, Flagg. And: yes, that Flagg.
Pat: I guess this wasn’t that confusing for you, since you haven’t be exposed to much of Roland’s backstory yet.
Andrea: Nah, not really
Pat: He’s totally gay though, right?
Andrea: Yeah, it would seem so. There were all kinds of indications that he had “demons.”
Pat: The “demons” being “thoughts about huntin’ naked dudes”?
Andrea: Well, yeah.
So everyone loved King Roland’s wife, Queen Sasha, and they had two sons, Peter and Thomas, one who was pretty much awesome and the other who was a bit of a whiney cunt and killed his mother in childbirth.
Pat: “It is King’s Iron,” he said.
“It doesn’t look like iron,” said Sasha, doubtfully.
“It is before the forge,” he said.
“Ali!” said she. “And where is the forge?”
“If you will trust me,” said he, getting into bed with her, “I will show you, for you have brought it from the Western Barony with you but did not know it.”
I wish she had just been like, “Oh, you mean my VAGINA? I thought you were talking about some blacksmith shit, ya great big Queen.”
Andrea: There is NO WAY people talked like that.
Pat: It’s a fantasy novel. A little suspension of disbelief is probably warranted.
Andrea: I don’t care what kingdom they are from.
Pat: So you’ve got Peter, who was conceived because Roland was horny from killing a dragon, and then you’ve got Thomas, who is the by-product of Flagg giving Roland a does of mystical Viagra.
Kind of sets the stage, no?
Andrea: UGH I did not like Thomas AT ALL
I thought the Roland/Sasha relationship was interesting. He seemed to truly love her, even though he wanted to bone dudes.
Pat: She’s made pretty impossible to dislike. She created a hospital and wept at some sort of endearing thing.
She was probably also super hot. The plebians love that shit.
Hot queens and the like.
Andrea: Plus she is dead for the whole book so she doesn’t have time to do anything shitty.
Pat: Queens Gone Wild.
She might’ve done some shitty things, but every flashback is adorable.
Andrea: This is not SK’S most nuanced book.
Pat: Also, I know that these kind of rules don’t apply to kings, but Roland pretty much rapes Sasha when they’re conceiving Thomas.
To which he responds, “I’m sorry. Huzzzzz.” And falls asleep.
Andrea: Um yeah. And FYI, those rules don’t apply to husbands in many states.
I was just picturing him as totally hairy and gross.
Pat: You’re not picturing our svelte, Clint Eastwood-cloned gunslinger?
Should I be?
Pat: IT’S FUCKING ROLAND PRETTY MUCH
Pat: I think you’d be well within your rights to imagine the Roland we already know.
Andrea: Yeah I got that, but he did not come across like Roland at all. Unless Roland is a big fat slob.
Pat: I mean, fuck, the kingdom is named Delain. Roland’s last name is Dechain in the Dark Tower.
Andrea: I KNOW. I got all that. I’m just saying the portrayal is kinda wonky.
Pat: I’m not going to Wiki it up, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that this is the Roland from a different world along the axis of the Tower.
A shadow version, or something. The Roland who wasn’t destined to reach the Dark Tower, probably because the Tower is homophobic.
Andrea: Okay, so that kind of makes sense.
Pat: Let’s not pretend anything Dark Tower makes a whole lot of sense.
Andrea: Agreed. That’s why I get all itchy when you are like haggling about minute details.
So Sasha teaches Peter to be a super nice dude, a prince with manners, which apparently princes and kings don’t have. They just wipe the grease from their mutton leg on their shirt, fart loudly, and pass out in the latrine.
Andrea: This made parenting seem like a lot of work. Which is is.
Pat: And here come the fucking napkins, Important Plot Point #1.
Andrea: I loved this!!! How resourceful is Peter!
Pat: Imagine how much work it would be if your husband spent all of his time killing animals and masturbating to The Grind.
Andrea: Luckily, he does neither of those things.
AS FAR AS I KNOW
I thought we agreed to pretend The Grind never happened?
Pat: What grind?
Andrea: I don’t like books where someone gets convicted of something they didn’t do. It’s so anxiety inducing.
Pat: This is basically medieval Shawshank.
So Thomas is born, Sasha dies, and Peter is like, oh cool, a brother! I’m gonna play with this dollhouse because my dad’s totally gay. Thomas is a weakling runt of a prince, and that’s just how Flagg likes it, because, man, would Peter be a boring, nice king.
Andrea: I lied when I said that I never felt bad for Tomas. I did feel bad that no one ever loved him
Pat: Flagg is like, “Uh, dollhouses are for sissies, Roland.” And Roland’s like, “What’s the problem with sissies? Some of my best friends are sissies. I even blow some of them.”
Pat: But it turns out Peter is using the dollhouse to play out stories, like The Sims for kings-in-waiting, and Roland’s like, “Oh. Cool.”
Andrea: Yes. Cause when boys play with dolls, they are called action figures. Insert rant about the gendered pink Legos that Avery just received.
Pat: So what would a dollhouse be called? An action house?
Andrea: HEADQUARTERS, duh,
Pat: Oh, shit, that’s totally probably true. BUT I will say this about the doll/action figure dichotomy: it’s a matter of pose-ability. Action figures have many points of articulation, hence why they’re called action figures. They can mimic actions. As opposed to Barbie, whose knees you’d have to break to get her legs to bend.
Andrea: How do you know so much about Barbie?
Pat: Who doesn’t know that Barbie has no points of articulation?
Probably girls, who have no idea you can have knees that bend and wrists that rotate on a doll/action figure.
And thus, wouldn’t notice the lack.
Andrea: I guarantee you that Tim doesn’t know.
Pat: Tim has a sister, for fuck’s sake, of course he knows. That’s what makes Barbies so deadly. You can really wing them at people because they’re super rigid in their positioning.
Action figure legs bend when they hit. You gotta hope for the head to land.
Andrea: I was unaware that Barbies were deadly.
Pat: They kill thousands of little girls’ dreams every year.
Andrea: Avery watched Little Mermaid for the first time last night. Ursula has some big-ass tittays
Pat: You’re foul.
Fast forward to Peter, who is now a strapping, handsome young prince, and Thomas, who is a weasely douchehole. Peter has a best friend, Ben, who is a Poor, of course, and Peter saves a lame horse from being killed.
Andrea: Peter is so noble that he stills loves his brother even though he sucks so much.
Pat: Thomas is the prince version of the lame horse, except he doesn’t get better and never becomes Peter’s trusty companion. Just a wiener.
What about the horse thing with Yosef? Heavy-handed character development or good stuff?
Andrea: Most of this book was pretty heavy-handed, so I call it good. with this kind of thing I think you kind of have to embrace it for what it is.
Pat: Much like Peter embraced Thomas, and Roland embraced dudes.
In sails Thomas with his crappy model sailboat! TOO BAD PETER IS ALREADY THERE GETTING PRAISED BY ROLAND FOR NOT BEING THOMAS.
Pat: Thomas could see that Peter was uncomfortable under the un-ceasing barrage of praise. He could also see that Peter knew Thomas wanted to talk to their father, and that Peter kept trying to tell their father so. It didn’t matter, none of it mattered. Thomas hated him anyway.
Andrea: Roland is a total dick. I thought he was supposed to be a hero
Pat: He’s set up from the beginning as a mediocre king. Those are King’s exact words. “Mediocre king,” said Stephen King, noted Authority On Kings, I Mean, Just Look At His Name.
And not much of a father.
Andrea: Well, yeah, but I meant in the Dark Tower in general.
Pat: DT Roland is trying to SAVE EXISTENCE FROM UNRAVELING
You HAVE to be a dick in that situation. In Roland of Delain’s situation, he could’ve not been a dick. Instead of seeing the sailboat and being all, “Maybe one day you’ll get firsties in archery like your brother,” he could’ve been like, “Wait, didn’t your whiney ass already win that shit? Before Peter? Good on ya!”
Andrea: Thomas could have been good at something if he was parented at all.
Pat: Too bad he KILLED HIS ONLY GOOD PARENT.
Andrea: It would have been a cool subplot to map how Thomas would have turned out if Sasha had lived.
Pat: Uh, Flagg never would’ve stood a chance, story wouldn’t have happened.
Andrea: Well, yeah.
Then we get some Flagg backstory. He has been an asshole for mad long, always returning to Delain without anyone knowing he’d been there before. He was an executioner, a royal advisor, and on and on and on. He’s super evil all the time!
Pat: Bill Hinch, High Executionar and the Frank Dobbs of Delain.
Andrea: So, my cousin’s husband is named Bill Hinch
Pat: Great story, and totally relevant to discussing this book. Tell me more.
Andrea: It always slays me when these guys are super tricky but not so tricky that they don’t ultimately fail.
Pat: That’s their FATAL FLAW. Don’t you understand ARCHETYPES?
Pat: Also, it’d be a pretty lame book if everything went according to Flagg’s plans.
Andrea: Well, yeah.
Pat: Are you like me in that you also wished that at some point, Flagg would show up wearing “clothes like no one had seen before, soft and blue pants, with a buttoned shirt of the same material and a vest with sleeves that seemed the same cloth but somehow hardier”?
And we’d all be like, “Ha! It’s denim! He’s wearing jeans and a denim jacket! Just like in The Stand!”
Andrea: That would have not occurred to me in any existing universe.
Flash forward again: Peter is sixteen, and Flagg comes up with a plan, finally. And for some reason, he shows Thomas the creepy secret chamber where, for some other reason, you can see into Roland’s den through the eyes of Niner, the dragon he killed the day he got enough of a boner to sire Peter.
Pat: First of all, how did no one notice the HUGE HOLE in the wall when Niner was mounted? Failing that, who went behind it later and made the little viewing hole? What is this shit?
Andrea: That kind of stuff literally never crosses my mind. I’m like, Oh okay, I believe you SK.
Pat: It begs a damn question!
Also, it’s a dragon’s head, right? How fucking far from the opening in the wall would the eyes be? You’d barely see anything out of them.
Andrea: I KIND Of imagine it as like when you climb up into the burger at the McDonald’s Playland.
Pat: Kind of doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?
The Eyes Of The Burger.
Andrea: Eyes Of The Grimace.
Peter comes up with the idea of bringing Roland a glass of wine every night, bought with his own money, and asks Thomas if he wants in on it. Thomas is like IT’S DAD’S WINE ANYWAY WHAT A DUMB IDEA I HATE YOU!!!!!!!
Andrea: Hahahahaha. Thomas, you are a boner.
Pat: So Peter does it anyway, because he’s super. And Thomas just spies on his dad instead, because he’s a fucking creepwad.
Roland is a pretty gross dude, all alone in that den of his.
I suppose we’re all pretty gross when we’re alone.
Andrea: I just assume that’s how all dudes act when alone. Nay, all people.
Pat: This was the father he had always loved and feared?
He was an old man who farted out stinking clouds of steam.
This was the King his loyal subjects called Roland the Good?
He pissed into the fire, sending up more clouds of steam.
This was the man who made his heart break by not liking his boat?
OH CHRIST AGAIN WITH THE BOAT
Andrea: Don’t you have a thing from your childhood that still stings? I can’t think of one.
Once my pediatrician said I was fat.
Pat: I have things I feel bad about, but nothing that anyone did to me. I don’t still harbor ill will to the kid who kept flicking the top of my head on the bus home one day, until after like ten solid minutes I was crying silently. Bygones be bygones.
How old were you?
How about the scene where Thomas is spying, and Roland flips out at Niner?
Andrea: Refresh me.
Pat: WHY ARE YOU STARING AT ME????
It’s basically “Stop looking at me, swan,” but, you know, with a dragon.
Andrea: OH YEAH
Pat: “WHY Do You STARE AT ME?” he shrieked, and in his drunkenness it was Niner, Delain’s last dragon, that he shrieked at, but of course, Thomas did not know that. “WHY Do YOU STAREAT ME SO? I’VE DONE THE BEST I COULD, ALWAYS THE BEST I COULD! DID I ASK FOR THIS? DID I ASK FOR IT? ANSWER ME, DAMN YOU! I DID THE BEST I COULD AND LOOK AT ME NOW! LOOK AT ME NOW!”
He pulled his robe wide open, showing his naked body, its gray skin blotchily flushed with drink.
“LOOK AT ME NOW!” he shrieked again, and looked down at himself, weeping.
Andrea: That was so freaky.
Pat: Get a fucking tan, Roland, Jesus.
That’s me being exclamatory, not telling both Roland AND Jesus to get tans. Jesus was probably swarthy as fuck.
So that’s it? “Freaky”?
Andrea: I think it was an important look into Roland’s psyche.
The plot is initiated. Flagg brings Roland an extra glass of wine after Peter leaves, which he’s poisoned with “dragon sand,” and leaves a strongbox with a few grains of the sand and a dead mouse in a hole behind one of Peter’s bookcases. Wheehaw, we got ourselves a conspiracy!
4:13:29 PM Andrea: OH SNAP
I really liked all the sciencey/mystery stuff, which I didn’t think i would.
Pat: Does that include the dumb two-headed parrot?
Andrea: Obviously not, you know I hate talking animals.
Pat: I did not know that. But it sounds like the kind of dumb prejudice you’d have.
“I hate tea kettles shaped like chickens.”
Andrea: Consider me the Brian Fellows of talking animals.
Pat: That parrot had devil eyes.
Andrea: The goat had devil eyes. The parrot stole his credit card number.
Pat: I was changing it to fit the discussion.
Oh, also, the box Flagg planted had Peter’s name on it because it was a gift he didn’t know he’d misplaced. Fortuitous!
Andrea: This seriously gave me so much angst.
Pat: What, the process of framing Peter?
Andrea: And the fact that he got framed
Pat: I think that’s the point. Only sociopaths wouldn’t feel that way.
So like, what, a day later, Roland starts smoking. From the inside. Then he pukes green flame and dies. There’s an investigation, headed up by Peter, to find the person who poisoned Roland. TURNS OUT IT WAS PETER OH CHRIST THE CORONATION IS OFF OH JESUS THE KINGDOM MUST BE SAVED THE CONTINUITY OF RULERSHIP MUST NOT BE BROKEN OH HEY TOMMY YOU’RE KING NOW.
Pat: Except what haven’t I mentioned, Andrea?
Andrea: I have no fucking clue.
Pat: Thomas was watching from inside Niner when Flagg poisoned Roland!
Andrea: Oh, duh. I thought that went without saying. Niner is a dumb name for a dragon.
Pat: You have a girl named Avery and a boy on the way you’re naming Ian.
Andrea: Eat a butt.
Pat: It’s unclear how Thomas would really know which glass of wine was poisoned.
Andrea: AND YET that little bastard just rolled with it. This is where I started hating him.
Pat: Well, the evidence DID lead to Peter. So maybe he just left it unexamined: two glasses of wine, evidence against Peter and none against Flagg.
Case closed for Thomas the Cranky.
Andrea: No, the whole time it talked about how Thomas knew in his heart it wasn’t Peter.
Pat: Well, yeah, I think that’s the idea. If there had been ANY OTHER suspect alongside Peter, Peter would’ve gone free. No one would believe it. Hell, people couldn’t believe it with evidence AND no other suspects.
Andrea: Why are we so laconic about this book?
Pat: Uh, that’s all you
Andrea: No way!
Pat: I tried to get you to talk about it yesterday
Andrea: I was gone already, fool
Pat: So, Peter is being framed for the murder of the king.
Which is called regicide. That’s our educational mandate filled for the day.
Andrea: Did we talk about how the thought of anyone being framed for anything makes my chest all tight and anxious-y?
Andrea: NO JUSTICE NO PEACE SK
We learn about Dennis, the young squire what’s Peter’s butler, from a long line of butling folk.
Andrea: What do you think it would be like to be a butler?
Pat: Who gives a rat’s ass?
Andrea: Me obvious or I wouldn’t be asking.
Pat: Uh, I imagine it would be a boring and servile life? Or it would be filled with little joys, like in Mr. Belvedere.
Andrea: I think it would be really awkward to have a butler.
Pat: You’re not even staying on topic of your own question.
I feel like your thought-butler.
Andrea: I am ruminating.
Pat: Your brain-herder.
Andrea: This is the lifeblood of Constant Reader. Our ruminations.
Pat: So you’ve never actually read our work before.
This is the first completely ridiculous tangent we’ve ever gone on.
Along with Dennis, which could not possibly be the fucking name of someone in a fantasy novel, unless it was a novel about the ’80s having never stopped happening, we also meet Peyna, which sounds like “Pee-na,” the chief prosecutor judge general of Delain or somesuch. Peyna knows Peter is guilty because he has Menendez face while being tried and shows no feeling of grief or whatnot.
Andrea: Or at least he pretends he thinks that to ease the whole process and find a quick villain.
Pat: Peyna doesn’t pretend to think that, it explicitly says that the whole thing would’ve ended immediately if Peter had “raged or laughed out loud,” but he was quiescent. So Peyna didn’t buy his story.
Andrea: The name reminds me of “Peeta,” which fills me with anger because that is the stupidest name in all literature.
Pat: It would’ve been funny if Judy Collins always had the character wearing things with lots of pockets. Not Judy Collins, but whoever wrote Hunger Games. You know.
Suzanne Collins, I think.
Andrea: Why would have have been funny again? Cause Peter Piper? I am not following.
Pat: Peeta pockets?
Pat: There was a trial, and it was a great wonder, and there are histories of the event if you care to read them. No. No, there aren’t. But I get what you’re doing there, King.
Andrea: I couldn’t decide if I liked that “here ye, noble reader, a tale for thee ages” tone. I think overall it was pretty effective.
Pat: When it’s just colorful storyteller stuff, I like it. And it doesn’t really meander into the realm of “blah blah blah, say thankee” very often.
Andrea: No, it was just enough to add some color to the narrative without being obtrusive.
Pat: When Flagg takes the stand and is answering questions about Dragon Sand, it’s kind of hard to believe no one’s like, “Wait, YOU had Dragon Sand? And it was conveniently ‘lost’? And the prince here found it, or stole it, and knew what it was and how to use it when even you claim to not know that, and he successfully used it to murder the king?”
Andrea: Let us speculate on how cool it would be for dragon sand to exist in real life.
Pat: Oh, let’s. Go right ahead.
Andrea: It would be cool.
Pat: If you’re going to not respond at all to the things I bring up in discussion, you should at least have another train of thought that bares some fruit. Your speculation was already implied in your pre-speculation.
Because I don’t see how Dragon Sand being really would be cool. Or useful. And as the person who brought it up, I would think you’d have more to go on about why it WOULD be cool than, “it would be cool.”
Andrea: …moment of truth. I can’t really remember what Dragon Sand is, and I wanted you to tell me without asking.
Pat: They’re grains of sand. They burn shit on contact. Like a dragon.
Andrea: OKAY GOT IT
Pat: If you ingest them, they burn you from inside out. Just like how King Roland died.
Andrea: Yes, that would not be cool. To be honest, I don’t even like handling cleaning products like bleach. I like to buy the touchy-feely ones from Target that have modern abstract flower motifs.
Pat: I’m really glad we had this discussion.
Wait, that’s not right. What’s the opposite of glad?
Any number of rhyming feelings.
Pat: I DIDN’T SAY WHAT RHYMES WITH IT.
Peyna asks Peter to put aside the crown, because while he has been found guilty of breaking the law, he’s technically king and therefore above the law. The whole thing could destroy Delain or Gilead or whatever fucking kingdom we’re in. It’s getting confusing.
Andrea: So, this all seemed really calculated to portray Peter as noble beyond noble, since he refuses to just be like EFF YOU I’M KING
Pat: If he did that, A. there would be no story, B. he’d already be the dickhead Flagg needs on the throne, and C. it would be entirely out of character.
Andrea: Okay, well, agreed on all three counts, but I just felt SO frustrated and upset for him the whole time I was reading.
Pat: What about when the guard is like FUCK YOUR FOOD, LICK IT UP OFFA DA FLO’
Andrea: YES I HATED IT ALL OF IT
Andrea: But then Peter swoops in and rectifies while still maintaining his dignity. Cause that’s the kind of disgraced king he is.
Pat: “I don’t know who you have been talking to, guardsman, and I don’t care.”
Andrea: OH SNAP
Pat: P.S. You didn’t even react when I started a sentence with, “When Flagg takes the stand.”
Andrea: That’s because you and your puns have made me suffer enough for a lifetime.
Pat: So Thomas refuses to be king at first. And then he’s all like, only if’n you’ll hold my hand, Flagg.
Andrea: Which plays right into Flagg’s hot little hands.
Pat: And Flagg keeps him drunk on wine and potions all the time, which we are meant to suppose is the reason he’s never like, OH HEY I SAW FLAGG BRING DAD WINE, TOO, THAT NIGHT
Andrea: Although you’d think all that plying with wine would make it click.
Then there’s Peter in the tower. The Needle, rather. With Beson the Guard That Hates Him, who he asks for a few favors as a prince in prison. And Beson is like, EAT A ROYAL SACHEL OF DICKS. And then Peter beats the everloving snot out of him and it is the coolest fucking thing ever.
Andrea: That is pretty awesome and the first time that I think I really connected with Peter. Before that, he was too good and kind.
Pat: It’s some Hidden Tiger shit.
And when he yields, he slips and calls Peter, “my King.”
Which is pretty fucking tits.
Although the whole PETER IS KING IN HIS WORDS AND ACTIONS thing got a little tedious later on.
Andrea: Especially with the tiny tiny, tiny threads thing which, while ingenious, must have been incredibly boring.
We’re not there yet. First, Beson has to go to Peyna, who Peter hopes will pay for these favors, and then Beson has to bring Peter his mom’s dollhouse, and then a napkin with each of his meals.
Andrea: Yes. And lucky for him, Peyna agrees.
Enter Ben Staad again. Ben is super regular.
Andrea: And he’s an awesome bestie for Peter, who is kind to the commoners as well.
Pat: But his friendship with Prince Peter has made things first good, then super bad.
Andrea: Refresh me.
Pat: Their family has always had bad luck, but their fortunes had slowly looked up after Ben and Peter became friends. Bigger tracts of land were offered to them at really low rates, blah blah blah.
Then Peter gets convicted of regicide and everyone is like FUCK YOU TOO STAAD.
Andrea: Ooooooh yeah. That part is so sad. Poor Dad Staad is totally broken down.
Pat: Which is doubly worse for them because Thomas becomes King Of Taxation, as well, in accordance with Flagg’s advice. People start to hate Thomas, which, whatever, we’ve been on that train for a while now.
Andrea: Cause now he’s not just a gross twerp, but also a shitty king.
Pat: Who’s always drunk. And I think maybe he’s into hookers, too, right?
Andrea: I think that was hinted at but not outright stated.
Pat: Ben sends Peter a note saying he doesn’t think he did the crime, therefore should not be doing the time.
Andrea: And it is pretty arduous to actually get him the note, right?
Pat: Well, it’s the size of a stamp, to start with. And I don’t think it was actually that difficult to get it to him.
SO, IT’S THREAD TIME.
Pat: PLEASE EXPLAIN TO OUR READERS HOW PETER PLANS TO ESCAPE FROM THE NEEDLE
Andrea: OMG OMG OMG
His mom’s dollhouse, which he loved to play with as a kid, has teeny tiny weenie everything. INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO A WHATSADOOZIE. SPINNING WHEEL.
Pat: It’s called a loom, you fuckwit.
Andrea: So Peter gets ahold of like nine zillion monogrammed napkins that were his as royalty. Actually, he requests one with each meal. Then he UNWINDS THE THREADS and practices braiding and spinning them into a rope. Which takes him like, what, nine years? 16 years?
Pat: Five years.
Andrea: Suffice to say, Peter is way more patient than yours truly.
Pat: First of all, you’re giving people the impression that he used entire napkins for thread.
Andrea: WELL THAT WOULD BE THE WRONG IMPRESSION TO GIVE
So as to go unnoticed, he only takes a few of the threads from each napkin.
Pat: And what information doesn’t Peter have that would have greatly accelerated his… LOOMING escape?
Andrea: Did you ask me to explain to set that dumb joke?
Pat: Nope, it came about organically. Like all true genius.
Andrea: I forget. Well, I know that it turns out that he miscalculates the thread being able to hold him.
Pat: He could’ve taken the entire napkin at every meal, and no one ever would’ve noticed, because they were just thrown out afterwards anyway, because SURPRISE: they’re coming from a VAST STORAGE ROOM filled with hundreds of thousands of these royal napkins.
Andrea: THAT’S RIGHT
Although I guess better safe than sorry in this scenario.
Pat: Given how much time is spent on Peter’s crafting the rope and the story of the napkin storage room, it’s surprising how little the fucking rope matters.
Andrea: It is kind of strange, but I guess SK wants to keep it from being too much of a deux ex machina.
Pat: So you don’t know what deux ex machina means, then.
That would be if, say, he found a rope underneath his bed in the Needle.
Pat: What is that, Arabic?
Andrea: It is my brain exploding cause you’re such a know-it-all
Pat: I’m not a know-it-all, I just very judiciously only use words and phrases I actually know.
Andrea: You know when I say “sigh”? It’s because I am actually heaving a sigh.
Pat: Yeah, I know how that works.
You know, words.
Peter tries to find a better hiding place for his ever-lengthening rope, and discovers a locket with a note in it. The note is from some Duke who was accused of murdering his wife by a dude named Flagg. And Peter is like, OH SHIT, THAT’S SOME DEUS EX MACHINA SHIT RIGHT THERE
Andrea: The idea of Flagg being around for ever and ever is sooo spooky.
Pat: And across the multiverse, you know.
Pat: He’s basically the Crimson King’s Henry Bowers.
Andrea: Henry Bowers and/or Frank Dodd.
Pat: ENOUGH WITH FRANK DODD ALREADY
Andrea: FRANK DODD IS WAITING FOR YOU IN THE CLOSET WHEN YOU GET HOME
Pat: Joke’s on you, I don’t have a closet.
The Staads disappear. A rebellion is fomenting in the west or the east or some such cardinal direction. Thomas drunkenly shows Dennis the secret place where he used to spy on Roland. And he yells about not drinking the wine. Thomas isn’t so much drunk as having a somnambulant fever dream. But he is also drunk.
Andrea: Another really creepy part
Pat: I’M NOT DONE SUMMARIZIN’
Dennis goes to see Peyna, who lives way out aways now. And the decision is to free the wrongly imprisoned rightful king. Then there’s a whole bunch of mushing with sled dogs and a very hastily thrown-in love story with Ben and some chick named Naomi who is meant to be bad-ass, but just sounds like Jon Snow’s wife from Game of Thrones.
Andrea: This whole subplot was very WTF. It felt thrown in from another book.
Pat: So Dennis creeps into the napkin chamber and leaves a note about the impending jailbreak. More mushing, etc. Huge snowstorm.
That’s a drink right there, for those playing the drinking game at home.
Andrea: A snowstorm drink? A note drink? A mush drink?
Pat: Inclement weather tied to RISING ACTION or IMPENDING CLIMAX.
Andrea: I am so glad I never have to rely on sled dogs.
Pat: The sled dogs are probably glad too.
Andrea: Is that a fat joke?
Pat: I guess it could be, but I was referring to your bossiness not being the best match for mushing. You’d be like UGH would you MUSH already OW I HIT MYSELF WITH MY OWN WHIP
Andrea: That is startlingly accurate.
Pat: I say sooths.
Oh, there’s also Frisky, Naomi’s super tracker dog.
It’s like, oh, hey, here’s this other story you didn’t want about how dogs see the world because I didn’t get it out of my system in Cujo.
Andrea: OH GOD. Have you read Call Of The Wild? The whole fucking thing from the mind of a dog OMG ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Pat: I probably have, but it has gone from my memory.
No, wait, if I read anything, it was White Fang. That book is one letter away from being super racist and super homophobic.
Peter writes Dennis a note in reply saying he’s busting out on his own the next night. He writes it in BLOOD.
Andrea: Cause his years in the clink have hardened him, yo
Ben and Naomi, blah blah, Flagg has been searching for the exiles to no avail, then he figures out what Peter’s up to, grabs some huge fucking ax, and starts towards and up the Needle while Peter is in the midst of escaping. Luckily there are super a lot of steps.
Andrea: This was another one of those SK fight scenes where iI was like, okay, not following the action here, wrap it up.
Pat: It wasn’t a fight. It was Flagg going up stairs and Peter coming down a rope.
Andrea: ACTION. CONFLICT. ETC. ECT.
Flagg gets there, the rope snaps, Peter falls into a cart filled with napkins. Oh the irony. The napkins saved him after all!
Andrea: Okay, that was dumb.
In the book, not you saying it. That was one of the elements that made me feel like this was kind of like a kid’s book.
Pat: This is a kid’s book, you dodo.
Andrea: Except no pictures/too boring. This is like, a nerdy 12-year-old boy book, which explains why you like it so much.
Pat: The book was originally called Napkins. And it has illustrations.
That looks like something some nerd drew in his algebra notebook.
Pat: I don’t know if that’s official or not.
Andrea: It looks awfully unofficial to me,
So Flagg yells at the guards to chase them, and the guards are like, Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh nope. And they run into the castle and hide in Thomas’s room, not noticing that Thomas is there????
Andrea: That was confusing as hell to me.
Pat: So Peter confronts Flagg with all of his past crimes when he gets to the room. Well, just the one from the locket, really.
And Thomas is like, TOTES I SAW IT TOO.
Andrea: AND THE BROTHERS UNITE
Pat: And Flagg is like OH SHIT THE GHOST OF KING ROLAND
But it isn’t. It’s lame-ass Thomas.
Andrea: Okay, it cracked me up that Flagg thought he was a ghost
Pat: And Thomas takes Foe-Hammer, the arrow, and fucking shoots it into Flagg’s EYE. His fucking EYE, Andrea.
Andrea: What a dum-dum.
You know how I am about eye stuff
Pat: Because Flagg is like a dragon in human form.
Eyes Of The Dragon.
It all circles around, you see.
Oh, also, as it flies through the air, the arrow picks up the locket, and so the locket also goes into Flagg’s eye. Flagg evaporates.
There’s sort of redemption for Thomas, and anyway, Peter loves the kid regardless, and he decides to go on a quest, Thomas the Tax-Bringer, a quest of atonement and probably hand stuff.
Andrea: Have we ever gotten through a write-up without mentioning boners? I think not
Ben and Naomi eventually get married, and Peter is a good king with a huge dong, and all we fucking get is the untold story that fucking Thomas and Dennis, who accompanied Tommy on his quest, once met Flagg again and fought his ass.
Pat: “All of that is another tale, for another day.”
Andrea: THE END OMG
Pat: FUCK YOU KING IT’S BEEN LIKE 3,000 OTHER DAYS
Andrea: “Thanks but no thanks.”
Pat: “Then I decided to write Drawing Of The Three instead.”
Andrea: I liked this fine but damn it took forever.
Pat: Took forever to discuss, you mean?
Pat: We are so behind schedule right now.
Andrea: OK WHAT’S NEXT
Pat: Drawing Of The Three.
Andrea: LET’S BONER JAM THAT SHIT OUT
Pat: God dammit, we didn’t make it all the way through without boners.
Andrea: Who could?