Prologue: The Sailor
When we left Roland of Dechain, noted Last of the Gunslingers and all-around grizzled dude, he had finally caught up with the Man In Black, whose name turned out to be Marten, and learned more about the next step in his quest for the Dark Tower, the point upon which all possible universes turn. He was told that he’d have to draw three people to help him in his quest, right before the universe exploded in a dazzling Pink Floyd laser show and Marten drank from the wrong Holy Grail. He wakes up on the Western Sea, where lobster-like monsters quickly take him from ten fingers to eight.
Andrea: I REALLY enjoyed this book. The structure of the three sections with meeting the three people worked really well.
Pat: What is this, an Amazon review?
Also, what do sentences end in, Andrea?
Andrea: Your mom?
WHICH I HAVE TO PUT IN IF YOU DON’T.
You are Paul Sheldon’s broken typewriter.
Andrea: OK. SO. THOSE FUCKING LOBSTER CREATURES and their inquisitive squawking. What is it with him and grotesque bug-like creatures making weird, sorta cutesy noises?
Pat: Dad-a-chack? Dud-a-chum?
To be fair, pretty much everything in the ocean is about as alien as anything that could ever land in a UFO. There’s no way lobsters are from this world originally.
Andrea: Agreed. I still don’t want them to rip my fingers off. Can you imagine the first person who was like, “Hey, lemme cook that thing up”?
Pat: I’ve often wondered about that. And Roland eats them raw at first.
That’s how you get diarrhea, Roland.
Andrea: And parasites.
Pat: “Lobstrosity” is a fantastic name for them.
Andrea: They were way bigger than real lobsters, correct/?
Pat: Way bigger, and I think possibly shaped more like crabs. I picture them as sort of towering, spherical things rather than long, lobstrous creatures. A good height to them, at least, with a good reach.
Andrea: I actually pictured them as long and crawling.
Pat: Crawling is a given, I think.
It’s kind of a ballsy move, starting the second book in a series about a gunslinger by relieving him of two of the fingers from his dominant hand. You essentially spend the rest of the series wishing Roland’s missing fingers would grow back. Not his missing toe though. Toes are stupid.
Andrea: Toes are actually critical to proper gait, which makes it surprising that he was able to walk all that so soon after the injury.
Pat: In sand, no less. But Roland is a hearty dude.
Pat: Tom Hardy?
Pat: At least he jerks off left-handed.
Andrea: Indeed. Small favors in Mid-Earfff.
Chapter 1: The Door
Roland traipses along on his nine toes, hearing the voice of the Man In Black in his head, avoiding the lobstrosities, and starting to succumb to an infection from his wounds. He finds himself a door as he travels north along the Western Sea—a door with no other side to it. A sign on the door says, “HEROIN,” which isn’t the best strategy for smuggling drugs quietly into Mid-World.
Andrea: The way the infection stuff was written made it feel jarringly real. Like the red streaks up to the heart.
Pat: I’ve held that information in my head ever since I first read it. That coupled with what they always tell you about tetanus infections doing the same thing.
Andrea: Yeah, it was pretty gruesome.
Pat: SO THERE’S A DOOR
Pat: DISCUSS, DAMN YOU
Andrea: So he decides to go through the door, right? Or he just peeks through?
Pat: Oh for the love of god.
You read the book, right?
Andrea: WHEN I START READING ANOTHER BOOK I FORGET EVERYTHING OK
Pat: He looks through and is like OH FUCK WE’RE IN THE SKY WE ARE BIRDS OH GOD
Andrea: OH YEAH! That was cool.
Pat: Then he realizes he’s in a sky-carriage and looking through a dude’s eyes.
Andrea: Although I thought his weird language barrier fish-out-of water stuff was kind of hokey. And it just happens to be a dude with coke in his drawers.
Pat: That’s kind of a necessity though. Roland’s never seen a damn plane, let alone been in one.
Andrea: That doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Pat: It has to be hokey.
Andrea: You never responded to my text about [REDACTED] being arrested for molesting his niece.
Pat: Oh, I missed that. “Missed” that text.
Andrea: Apparently also: it was not the first time.
Pat: It rarely is. Anyway, save it for Library Policeman.
Andrea: How do i know all this, you may ask?
Pat: I wouldn’t used “may” so liberally. I “might,” but I “wouldn’t.”
Andrea: From his bats hit crazy Facebook posts.
Pat: Roland has a Facebook?
Andrea: lol wut?
Pat: No one.
No one cares.
We’re in Mid-World. Molestation is uninteresting next to fucking universe-shattering doors.
Andrea: OK FINE
MOVING RIGHT ALONG
Dude’s on plane. Roland is in his head and needs a sandwich. Oh wait, sorry, a “popkin.”
What Roland’s looking out of is a plane, but what’s looking out of the plane is a pair of eyes, which happen to belong to a heroin addict named Eddie Dean. Mr. Dean is flying back to New York from the Caribbean, where two pounds of high-quality cocaine were strapped to his body, because, you know: spring break. Eddie is super nervous.
Andrea: And somehow, the presence of Roland jumping into his brain uninvited does nothing to ease his anxiety.
Pat: He doesn’t quite know at first. That’s how Roland can get those tuna fish sandwiches. Eddie’s asleep when he comes forward the first time.
Andrea: Right. All I could think was how miserable it would be next to someone eating tuna fish on a plane. Pardon me, “tooter fish.”
Pat: You really have a wonderful imagination.
Andrea: I hope you poop your pants.
Pat: I like that he thinks the stewardesses are army ladies.
Andrea: That was pretty awesome, actually.
Pat: In what way?
Andrea: In that I liked it! Just like you said, fool.
Pat: Maybe this is reading things into it, but the idea that Roland comes from a super-backwards place but thinks women could easily be in the military is kind of interesting.
Andrea: Have we even really met any women on his quest yet thus far?
Pat: Allie from Tull?
The preacher woman?
Andrea: True, but I mean in any kind of capacity of power.
He might think they are in the military, but it’s still a service branch of the military with lipstick.
Pat: Oh right, a Queen and a lady who can turn an entire town into a gunslinger-hungry mob aren’t really that powerful.
Andrea: Here is where I admit that I remember nothing about the first book.
Pat: So we get two little backstories here: Eddie’s brother Henry, who got him hooked on junk after he returned from ‘Nam, and picking up the coke in the Caribbean.
One of which I liked, one of which I didn’t.
Andrea: Let me guess. You liked the Caribbean story, which is the opposite of the one I liked.
Pat: DING DING DING
I understand that the older-brother-dependency dynamic is critical to Eddie’s character, but I don’t particularly care.
Andrea: I like all family dynamic stuff. Plus, I thought the dichotomy of how his brother got him hooked on drugs when he was trying to protect him was interesting.
Pat: I don’t think it actually gives us that much in terms of characterization, except when it’s compared to the Caribbean story. One shows us what a passive fuck-up he is, the other shows us how bad-ass he’s capable of being.
Andrea: Agreed. I also thought that the Caribbean scene was one of the few action SK scenes that isn’t confusing. In fact, that goes for much of the action in this book. So I can’t really say that I didn’t like it—I just liked it less than the brotherhood story.
Pat: The thing is, even if King had thought—and of course he probably didn’t—”Hey, I could really scale back this Henry shit,” he had already roped too much of the plot into Henry. Which we’ll get to.
Andrea: OMG. OK. So there is much confusion when Eddie is on the plane and Roland gets into his body. And the flight attendant, who thinks he is kinda cute, notices that his eyes change color.
Somehow, she thinks that this makes him a terrorist.
Pat: I don’t know how I feel about the eyes-changing-color-depending-on-who’s-driving-the-person thing.
Andrea: I thought it was fine, although somewhat gimmicky, but I didn’t really buy that the flight attendant yelled terrorist! based on that alone.
Pat: That’s explained to my satisfaction. She’s been taught to key into anything weird that might be a warning sign. I dig that. And you could argue that it shows Cort’s thing about seeing what other people don’t see. Noticing things beyond the casual glance.
Pat: She’s almost a gunslinger, that flight attendant.
Andrea: Yeah, SEPTA still has those “if you see something, say something ads.”
Contact And Landing
Our stewardess, who has spotted ol’ junk-head’s increasing odd behavior, is clutching a thermos full of hot coffee as the plane makes its approach to JFK Airport. Roland, who has yet to speak with Eddie, attempts an experiment that may save Eddie from the ritual of Clearing the Customs. They make contact, and Roland explains what’s up: he can take the cocaine through the doorway, leaving Eddie without any contraband on his person as he clears customs.
Andrea: The stewardess is certainly badass in this section. I don’t know if I ever would have thought of that.
Pat: Both stewardesses, in fact.
Andrea: The whole bathroom standoff while they were switching over was really well done. Super tense and anxiety-inducing
Pat: It seemed pretty compressed, like time over there moves slower than it does here.
Andrea: Well, yeah, I thought that was on purpose to make sure they had the magic touch needed to make it happen.
Pat: Here’s a question that’ll annoy you: how come things don’t change when they pass between worlds, a la The Talisman?
Andrea: I was actually wondering that too. I’m glad they don’t, though, cause it would add unnecessary confusion to what is otherwise a pretty tight narrative.
Pat: I know it’s not, strictly speaking, the same multiverse as The Talisman. But it also probably is.
Andrea: It is a sub-alternate universe, perhaps.
Pat: How about Eddie’s attitude once he comes back and they bust into the bathroom?
Andrea: Awesome. It cemented him as a hero in my mind.
Although he does get kinda namby-pamby later in the book.
Pat: There’s really no excuse for him not saying anything when they were banging on the door. Who wouldn’t yell?
Andrea: He was like, “Sorry dudes. Was poopin’.”
Pat: That would’ve been a great touch to an already great scene: have Eddie keep leaning in the doorway, yelling at the people banging on the door.
Maybe when they do the movie. Someone get me Ron Howard’s phone number.
Andrea: Is he really still working on this?
Pat: I don’t get the feeling that Ron Howard’s in the habit of giving up passion projects.
Andrea: Well, not knowing the man personally, I wasn’t sure.
Not that Roland hasn’t heard about it before from a hypnotized Jake, but for his first real visit to New York City, a detention room at an airport isn’t much of a tourist destination. Eddie is searched, the airplane’s septic tank is drained, and no drugs are found, and so the Priests of Customs let him and his psychic hitchhiker go. Eddie is picked up and taken directly to the home office of Enrico Balazar, the mob boss who made Eddie a drug mule in the first place.
Pat: You are a MUNCHER OF ASSES
Andrea: Believe me, no one wants a meeting less than I do.
Guess what? I just rescheduled it.
Pat: OH SHIZ
Andrea: I kept thinking the whole time that they were going to frame him for something since they couldn’t get him on anything real.
Pat: Do you have an inherent distrust of authority?
Pat: Is it because you have been with Mr. Conspiracy Theory for like a decade and a half?
Andrea: IDK probably.
Pat: “I bent over and let one of you stick the world’s longest finger up my ass. If a prostate check is an exam, that was a motherfucking safari. I was scared to look down. I thought I’d see that guy’s fingernail sticking out of my cock.”
That was foul.
Pat: The way Eddie has those flashes of steeliness without it being like OH SHIT, LOOK AT HOW BADASS EDDIE CAN BE, is how I wish SK had dealt with showing Peter’s natural King-ness in Eyes.
Just slightly understated.
Andrea: Yes. He was badass without necessarily having to advertise it all over town.
Pat: Although later, fucking King has Roland be all, “MAYBE I’M NOT THE LAST GUNSLINGER CAUSE THESE TWO TOTES GOT THE JIBS WHAT’RE CUT THE WAY I LIKE.”
Andrea: I don’t remember anything like that in this book.
Pat: I guess Roland’s allowed to have no subtlety.
Required to, in fact.
Andrea: Not really. I find him overall to be rather tedious.
Then why did you like the first book so much?
Andrea: I liked this book too. I just don’t want to hang out with him.
Pat: Oh, that’s the metric now?
Andrea: I’m just saying. I wouldn’t. I felt bad for Eddie being stuck with him.
Pat: That’s sort of the point!
Andrea: WELL GOOD I’M GLAD I GOT IT THEN.
Pat: So before we get to the Leaning Tower bar with Balazar, Eddie gets home and B’s henchman have cleaned up the Dean household, removed all the dope, and relocated Eddie’s brother.
WHICH CARRIES IMPLICATIONS OF FUCK YOU
Andrea: This was an awesome part. I was immediately like OH SHIT SHIT IS GOING DOWN.
Pat: And yet shit does not yet go down. Also, there’s that weird eye-color-change shit again. Meanwhile, we are regaled with the story of Roland’s First Cola, a three-act tragedy about the excesses of sugar in the modern world.
Andrea: Oh yeah, he thought it was way too sugary right now.
Pat: “Gods… such sweetness!” is what his Yelp review says.
Everyone watching Henry at Balazar’s is playing Trivial Pursuit with Henry, who is about to overdose, and Balazar himself is building a house of cards, which he does all the time. He is a complicated mobster, we are meant to understand.
Andrea: This cracked me up, when they were trying to play TP and he kept nodding out.
Pat: Answering, “Johnny Cash” to everything.
Andrea: Yup. And then it finally was the answer.
Pat: I think we’re told a little too goddamn much about the intricacies of Balazar’s house of card-building habit.
Andrea: Agreed. Who the eff cares.
Pat: So then there’s basically the mobster version of the conversation Eddie has with the customs guys. Except he’s like, “Uh, I’m going to do a magic trick in the bathroom and produce your two pounds of cocaine.”
Andrea: Yeah. WTF was he thinking? This made me so nervous for him.
Pat: What other option was there?
Andrea: I know that’s why it was so nerve-wracking.
Pat: “Oh hey, I hid the coke in a parallel world where there’s a gunslinger dying of fever and lobstrosities that ask inane questions”?
Andrea: Right. Obviously they would not have believed him.
Pat: When he goes into the bathroom, stark-raving naked, with Andolini, I thought, you know, I don’t remember how this pans out. Couldn’t even imagine how he pulled it off. I knew there was about to be a motherfucking SHOOT-OUT.
Andrea: I couldn’t imagine either. But yes, I knew mofos were going to end up dead.
THEN THERE WAS A CRAZY MOTHER FUCKING SHOOT OUT
Pat: No, before the shootout.
Andrea: I don’t remember this kind of stuff like you do. …um, um, soooo they let him go into the bathroom right?
Pat: That is correct.
Andrea: And he is freaking out cause he can’t figure out how to get it back from Roland without them seeing Roland and whatever. But then doesn’t Roland just pop right over?
Pat: You’re missing the entire part where Eddie grabs Andolini and carries him through the doorway, where he is eventually consumed by lobstrosities.
Andrea: That ruled. Can you even imagine? What a perfect body disposal method.
Pat: It’s also great for smuggling drugs!
Pat: Roland hits a dud bullet, Andolini draws, Roland gets a good bullet, shoots Andolini’s gun as the bullet is firing from it. Annnnnd it explodes.
Eddie stared at him, stunned. No one would ever misjudge Jack Andolini’s caveman face again, because now he had no face; where it had been there was now nothing but a churned mess of raw flesh and the black screaming hole of his mouth.
Andrea: That was a great visual. It appeared in my head as like a comic book panel.
Pat: And then Roland comes through WITH Eddie—which how does that even work?—and they both lawyer the whole mob structure.
Andrea: He probably holds onto him like we did a few times to get through the PATCO turnstile as if we were one really fat person.
Pat: How do you like the shootout?
Andrea: I think we might have talked about this already, but it was one of the few SK action scenes that really seriously WORKED.
Pat: Yeah, you don’t not know what’s going on. This is no Pipe From Running Man situation.
Andrea: Usually I have no idea what is happening and end up bored and skimming.
Pat: The one thing I’ll say is: the will-they/won’t-they bullet situation almost got tiresome.
But not quite.
Pat: Oh, also, Henry is dead.
Andrea: womp womp.
Too bad, so sad.
Pat: And to prove he’s dead, during the shootout, someone throws his decapitated head into the room with all the shooting.
Andrea: OMG OMG
That was awesome.
Pat: So they deal with the last dude, and then Roland’s like, hey, you want to quest for the Dark Tower with me, chum? You can be my chum.
And Eddie’s like, ugh, with the lobsters and that shit?
Andrea: And ultimately though, he really has no choice.
Pat: They take some Keflex with them to cure Roland’s infection, but no smack. Whoops!
Andrea: Roland won’t let him, right?
Pat: Well, they’re already through, and then Eddie remembers like it’s just his keys he left on the other side. And Roland slams the door shut, it falls backwards and stops being magical.
Pat: Is Drawing Of The Three, at its heart, a cautionary tale about not finishing your course of antibiotics?
Andrea: How so?
Pat: Roland doesn’t even have a week of Keflex. So he doesn’t do a full course of antibiotics. Then he gets sick again.
Also, IT WAS A JOKE
Andrea: A DUMB ONE
Pat: So this whole time that Roland is super out of it and getting better from the lobstrosity infection, Eddie gets really, really angry with Roland.
It kind of felt like a cheat.
Andrea: I didn’t mind. Roland is a jerk. I’d be super pissed if he was dragging me through some jankety alternate universe. What is cheatish about it , pray tell?
Pat: Because it’s not really developed. He doesn’t arrive there as a result of exposition or dialogue. Roland’s out of it, and in the meantime, Eddie gets fucking super pissed. We don’t even really get Eddie going cold turkey. Which, from heroin? And he’s still able to keep Roland fed on lobstrosity meat?
Andrea: I guess he really has no choice. I thought they indicated that the withdrawal wasn’t as bad in the alternate universe.
Pat: Did they?
Andrea: In my remembrance. Which is admittedly flawed.
Pat: YEAH IT IS
There’s another moment here or hereabouts, that has rankled me for all time. Roland is at the shore of the Western Sea. Which I’ve always imagined to be the California coast, which mostly jives with everything. Including the analogues with The Talisman.
Andrea: I assumed that as well.
Pat: But at some point in here, the sea is described on the wrong side of the story. Like, he says north or south, and the sea is then supposed to be on the opposite side of them. It happens once, and never again.
Andrea: I think you should just chalk it up to a typo and move on with your life.
Pat: These books are in their quintillionth printing, you’d think they’d have noticed and sorted it by now.
And then we get the big ol’ story of Eddie’s life, and how it was intertwined with ‘Nam-vet Henry’s.
Andrea: I liked this a lot but I know you didn’t.
Pat: You have to understand that I’ve read this book about five times. The things that weren’t necessary become very obvious and irking when you’ve read them that many times.
Andrea: Okay, I can understand that.
Pat: Henry matters, but only while he’s part of the story. And even then, it’s really minimal. He’s a call to action for one brief, shining moment, and then his head gets chopped off, and he’s useless. It’s like all of the Dickens characters where you think, okay, this guy has fuck-all to do with this story in the long run.
Translation: I can’t remember a goddamn thing about his past.
Andrea: Untrue. I thought the fact that he was a drug addict but one who was struggling with morality and the choices he made gave him a humanity that made me want to root for him.
Pat: In what way was he struggling with morality, as showcased by the dip into his past?
Andrea: BECAUSE HE WAS SMUGGLING THE DRUGS BUT KNEW THAT HE WAS DOPING THE WRONG THING AND WAS REALLY NERVOUS AND IT WAS ALL BECAUSE HE DIDN’T WANT TO BECOME A DRUG ADDICT LIKE HIS BROTHER BUT OOPS HE DID ANYWAY
Pat: I think you’re giving me the English lit bull response!
Andrea: I think you are giving me the English lit bull questions!
Pat: I’m trying to see if you can actually give me good reasons why the backstory is so lovely for you, or if you just like backstory and don’t want to admit it does fuck-all for the story.
Andrea: I like backstory and I think it’s good for the story, because it makes me enjoy reading it more, which is good for a book whose sole purpose is entertainment value.
Pat: Fine. Okay. Ka versus kaka: funny or not funny?
Andrea: Funny, but only if you know what both of those things are. I think kaka might be regional.
Pat: I don’t think so. I think it’s universal.
Andrea: You’re loading up Wikipedia right now, aren’t you?
Pat: It’s Hispanic in origin. People be knowin’ caca.
Anyway, explain to the kids what ka is, since it’ll be used over and over throughout the next billion books.
Andrea: Ka is destiny, yes?
Pat: Fate, destiny, yeah.
The wheel turns. The world moves on. Cela.
Andrea: So Eddie figures out that his ka is to be one of the three.
What a shitty ka.
Pat: That’s the pun, I believe. Or at least it’s his ka to go with Roland.
Mental note: Eddie is not, at this point, angry at Roland. It sort of all rushes up when they get to the next door.
Andrea: The next door is my favorite door.
Pat: Here’s another fun typo: Eddie goes from being 21 to 23 at one point.
What we have here is a door, labeled THE LADY OF SHADOWS, behind which is a bird’s-eye-view of New York in the heady days of the Civil Rights movement, from the perspective of a very well-to-do black lady named Odetta Holmes, who is wheelchair-bound from losing her legs in a dance contest with an A train. She is also home to Detta Walker, a stereotypical jive-ass black woman of the era, who is super into stealing things.
Andrea: Important fact #1: Odetta doesn’t know Detta exists, and vice-versa.
Important fact #2: Odetta is not only well-to-do, she is the portrait of feminine dignity.
Pat: Both important facts, and thank you for sharing them with the class.
Also, Detta has a thing about masturbating that is so cloudily written that I’m not even sure what’s happening. It’s the pipe in Running Man. She breaks “forspecial” things like china plates and steals stuff and then fingers herself, is the gist I got.
Andrea: Yeah, she gets some kind of sexual rush out of shoplifting, which I think is not all that unusual among kleptos and the like.
Pat: Talk about your lampshade hanging: Eddie Dean basically absolves King of any stereotyping by pointing out that Detta sounds like Odetta trying to PUT ON being jive-ass, and doing it poorly.
Which, fair dos to him, that is some clever track-covering.
Andrea: Checkmate, SK.
So do you think that Odetta has all this anger inside her because of the accident, and Detta allows her to unleash that so she can be such an upstanding member of her race the rest of the time?
Pat: I think it’s because of the brick she got dropped on her head as a kid, initially, and it was brought to the surface by the trauma of getting her legs cut off at the knees by a subway train.
Andrea: Did you find that those two incidences were kind of like “lightning strikes twice,” and therefore not believable?
Pat: Well, she suffered brain trauma, which damaged her brain, and then she suffered bodily trauma and psychological trauma, which her broken ass brain turned into multiple personalities. I guess it’s a stretch, but we’ve pogo’d well over the shark already.
Andrea: I kind of thought they were believable because they were her ka, and that’s why the tower needed her or some shit.
Pat: I think saying that is like saying Eddie was a heroin addict because the Tower needed him to be. I don’t think the causality is as clear and linear as all that. The Tower needs Eddie because he’s a drug addict because the Tower made him a drug addict because it needs a drug addict.
Andrea: Yes. I don’t even like to go down that path because it makes my brain hurt.
Pat: You maybe shouldn’t read the Dark Tower then. That’s all it is.
Welcome to recursive reality. Wait until Hammerskoljd Plaza gets involved. That shit is impossible to pin down temporally.
Andrea: It is no surprise that I like his more reality-based, non-supernatural books more. Or with like, one element of supernaturalism that is easily explained.
Pat: We’re made to understand that Odetta is a serious Civil Rights activist, but there’s also this sort of indication from her driver that maybe the times she thinks she’s protesting, she’s actually just Detta Walker instead.
OH I GET IT, DETTA WALKER
Andrea: I do not understand what you just got.
Pat: She was created by the accident that took Odetta’s legs.
That is unprecedented.
Pat: I’m forced to think that you don’t know what “unprecedented” means.
Andrea: Unprecedented = not preceded = PREVIOUSLY I never thought that.
Pat: You have to be fucking kidding me with that bullshit word-jujitsu.
Andrea: You are just saying that cause I bested you.
Pat: I’m really not.
So back to what I said before that, please.
Andrea: Yes. I agree with the driver that she is Detta when she is protesting. Odetta is too refined for that.
Pat: Eddie is super excited to see New York again.
Andrea: Refresh me.
Pat: Chicken, smack, so on.
Andrea: Oh yeah. And then he wants to stay, but Roland is like, no dice. Which sucks because fried chicken is awesome and lobstrosities sound terrible.
Pat: What do you mean, he wants to stay?
Andrea: Remember he tries to get Roland to agree to let him stay? Or is it that he wants to get one last chicken/heroin sandwich, and Roland says no dice?
Pat: In New York? No. Just that he wants to go get some chicken, see a movie, and maybe score some smack. And he’ll come back, he promises.
This is where Eddie gets all angry-times at Roland.
Andrea: Oh right. I don’t blame him.
OKAY SO ROLAND SAYS NO WAY, and Eddie is pissed as hell. Then they have to figure out how to bring Odetta back with them.
Pat: I don’t think “Eddie is pissed as hell” really covers it.
Andrea: Am I correct in remembering that she is only in the wheelchair as Detta?
Are you asking me if she has legs when she’s Detta?
Andrea: No, I thought she used prosthetics as Odetta but not as Detta
Pat: …I have no memory of this. Examples?
Andrea: I’m still opening the book, hang on.
Andrea never finds an example. Meanwhile, Roland heads to the movies.
Andrea: This harkens back to the last book, right?
Pat: When Jack took Wolf to the movies in a totally different book?
Andrea: Oh not this one. Whatever book with the fact MOON guy.
It harkens. You shut up.
“Before your when.” I like that phrase.
Pat: If we mention everything that harkens back to the Dark Tower, we’ll have a longer book than all of SK’s books.
Andrea: So here we get to the part where Eddie claims to just want chicken and catch a movie, but Roland sees right through that BS.
Pat: Yes, and where Halloween and The Shining are both mentioned.
Andrea: Right. I find his self-referentiality quaintly charming.
Pat: Now what about this Detta-has-legs/Odetta-has-a-wheelchair shit?
Andrea: Then the fight escalates, and we get the cliffhanger where Eddie’s about to slit Roland’s throat.
No, the other way around.
Pat: WELL THAT THEN
Andrea: I’ll tell you when I see it. Talk amazing cliffhanger. Which is a motif he repeats in Misery. SHAZZOW
Pat: It may be back in the backstory of Odetta, though, and we’re in the now-now.
He pulled the knife from the gunslinger’s purse and then rolled over the limp, breathing body which lay before the doorway.
To be fair, he does this shit at the end of nearly every chapter of every book he’s ever written.
Andrea: Then we jump all the way over to this plane crash thing.
Pat: What? What plane crash?
Andrea: That the paramedics flash back to in the next section.
Pat: Ah, right. That’s in all likelihood the very famous crash from when JFK Airport was still called Idlewild. One of the planes fell on a church in Brooklyn. The Pillar Of Fire Church, if you can believe that.
Andrea: The image of a child’s lone toy left behind after a disaster is the biggest cliché there is, and it still always gets me.
Pat: Only one survivor of that crash, in fact. A kid, who died shortly afterwards at the hospital.
Andrea: Are you talking about a real life crash or in the book?
Pat: Real life.
Do you think maybe we could’ve skipped a bit of the whole Holmes story and gone straight to this? Would that have set the character up enough?
I mean, we’ve got both personalities losing their shit on the train tracks.
Andrea: What part of the Holmes story do you think we could have done without?
Pat: …all of it. Or at least, it could have been repurposed to be artful snatches during the train accident section.
Andrea: I like that idea. But since it isn’t a super-long book, I don’t necessarily think it needs to be edited.
Imagine if the IT we know was abridged, and there was a longer, unabridged version out there somewhere.
Pat: I wouldn’t read it.
Andrea: You lie.
Pat: It’s already 1000 pages, and it’s perfect. I’m not chancing that for the hope of two more pages of Ben pining after Beverly. I’ll just go to a bookstore and FIND those pages.
Andrea: HA!!! So then we get George and Julio, Ambulance Drivers Extraordinaires, shooting the shit for a few pages. Down by the schoolyard, if you will.
Pat: “GOAN KILL EVERY MAHFAHIN HONKY I SEE! GOAN GELD EM FUST! GOAN CUT OFF THEIR BALLS AND SPIT EM IN THEY FACES! GOAN—”
Andrea: I loved her. She was spunky.
Pat: What I’m saying here is, “mahfah” doesn’t even sound like anything anyone’s ever said. The k sound is always there. I live in Harlem, I be knowing this shit.
Andrea: I forgot you lived in Harlem?
Pat: I don’t really know how old Odetta is.
Andrea: It seemed to change. At first, I thought she was in her 30s, and then it seemed more like 40s.
Pat: When her and Eddie meet up, her age seems to age.
Andrea: Yes! I thought that too.
Pat: So we’re pretty much right on inside her fucking head and already barreling towards her joining Roland’s world. Which was nice, but I think it still took longer, all told and considering the backstory, than it took to get Eddie.
Although it took longer to get Eddie in his world, obviously. But in book time, it takes way longer to get Odetta, methinks.
Andrea: It did. The book was like 60 percent Eddie and 40 percent everything else.
Pat: I suppose part of it was sort of also Odetta, what with the Pusher.
So Odetta’s in Mid-World now. And Eddie is immediately falling in love, which, I don’t know. A little too sudden.
Pat: Well, I guess let’s discuss getting her from her shoplifting excursion to Midworld. Which I leave to you. GO.
Andrea: That was pretty cool how he was all into her and then she turned into Detta . It’s like the worst morning after ever. They be peepin’ at her through the door, and she is shoplifting costume jewelry.
Pat: Detta, that is. The cranky one.
Andrea: Roland refers to undies as “lady-things.”
Pat: And she screamed because the invading raping presence was a honky.
She could not see but nonetheless sensed his whiteness.
Andrea: “She was gonna chew on those mahfahs…”
Pat: So Roland takes control and rolls that bitch into a dressing room before the Store Dick can apprehend her for being a jive-ass darkie.
Andrea: He jumps into Detta’s body and starts rolling away in the wheelchair really fast, and now I can’t stop laughing thinking about that. Then he just wheels her right through the door! That was pretty easy.
Pat: Handicapped people are not a laughing matter.
Unless you’re imagining that suddenly it’s Roland in the wheelchair, dressed up as a a haughty black woman from the 1960s.
Andrea: I was, in fact. Thanks for clearing that up. You know me really well!
But then all the sudden they get through and it’s Odetta, not Detta. Wut WUT?
Pat: Well, she’s in a state of shock again, like after the train accident. She looked through the doorway and saw Odetta reflected It’s the first time they’ve ever had a single inkling the other existed.
So of course they’re going to go back and forth again for a while, only this time with a little extra English. Although it seems like Detta is more aware of Odetta now than vice-versa. Possibly because Detta was in control when she looked through the doorway? Odetta only feels LOOKED AT, in that way you can sometimes tell when someone’s looking at you. But actually it’s a stuffed animate or a Mr. Bean cut-out, usually.
Andrea: Yeah, I definitely get the feeling that Detta is semi-aware.
Pat: She definitely is. It’s a question of is Odetta that aware at first?
Andrea: Not really. She could have been in denial.
Andrea: “Christa McAuliffe’s left hand mounted…” That was a weird part.
Pat: Refresh me.
Andrea: OH HOW THE WORM HAS TURNED
Pat: Not so long as I still have to edit out your goddamn typos, it hasn’t.
Andrea: They just mentioned it in passing as an aside, but Christa McAuliffe was the teacher from the Challenger explosion.
Pat: How is that relevant to the story again? I really don’t remember this.
Andrea: It wasn’t, I just thought it was a weird piece of ephemera. It’s just a comparison someone makes.
Andrea: About a weirdo with her body parts mounted in his house.
Pat: Odetta’s pretty easygoing about switching dimensions.
Andrea: Yeah, at first.
Pat: I mean the personality, not the whole person. Obviously, Detta is pissed.
Andrea: Ah, got it. Her pissed-ness is awesome. I was kind of rooting for her when they were trying to cross the sand and she kept fucking shit up.
Pat: You’re a psychopath. Why would you root for A. a horrible person who’s B. being a fucking cunt?
Andrea: Cause Roland is a pain in the ass with his stupid quest.
Pat: Roland is fucking DYING, man. And his quest is to save ALL OF THE UNIVERSE FROM CRUMBLING
Andrea: Okay, but I can see how they’d be annoyed. Wouldn’t you be?
Pat: I try not to get annoyed by things I have no power over, like getting pulled into alternate dimensions to save the known multiverse.
“The Negros,” she said. “Calling a Negro a black is a trifle rude, don’t you think?”
“You’ll all be calling yourselves that by 1980 or so,” Eddie said. “When I was a kid, calling a black kid a Negro was apt to get you in a fight. It was almost like calling him a nigger.”
Let Brother Eddie tell you how it be, Odetta.
Andrea: I know you didn’t read 11/22/63 yet, but the whole falling in love with someone from another time thing, there’s echoes of that in here.
Pat: They would’ve been SK’s formative years, n’est pas?
I’d like to formative his years.
Pat: Please explain that mess of an allusion.
Andrea: I will not.
So this is where Eddie and Odetta start to have a love connection
Pat: Super-abbreviated path to love, this.
She listened attentively to Eddie, not speaking at all, her eyes fixed on his. At one moment Eddie would guess she was five years older than he, at another he would guess fifteen. There was one thing he didn’t have to guess about: he was falling in love with her.
Andrea: He is like immediately head over heels. Maybe because his only other choices are Roland and lobsters?
Pat: Eddie Dean, future psycho ex.
It’s not like if there’s no one around to love, you just love the first person or thing there is to love.You could just NOT be in love.
Andrea: Well, yes, that works for some people, but obviously Eddie is of the stalker-y variety.
Pat: This is also where Eddie suddenly becomes two years older.
Andrea: Oh yeah, is that explained later or is it just a typo?
Pat: It’s not explained in this book, no, and I don’t think in any subsequent book. That, along with the great Western Sea beach disorientation, makes for two pretty large errors.
Andrea: Large errors if you are P. Hipp, nitpicker extraordinaire.
Pat: FOR A BRIEF SECOND, THE WORLD LITERALLY GOES APESHIT ON ITS AXIS. That is not nitpicking.
Andrea: Wellllllll I didn’t even notice, annnnnd got a higher SAT score than you, so I would argue that this is a nonissue to the average reader.
Nay, the constant reader.
Pat: Yes, yes, we all know that you are better at taking tests than me. I’m better at things like comprehending the world and words around me, like THIS IS A FUCKING HIGHWAY OFF-RAMP, NOT A FUCKING ON-RAMP DON’T TURN ONTO IT OH GOD ANDREA WHAT THE FUCKETY FUCK
In a way, it’s almost the exact same thing as you not noticing that King briefly turned the entire continent around north-south.
Andrea: I see that the best you can do is something that happened like 15 years ago. Sooooo go screw.
Re-read what you just said.
Then go back and re-read what you said that I was responding to.
Then re-read the part where I explained that I’m better at understanding words than you are.
APPLY COLD WATER TO THE BURNED AREA
Andrea: CAN WE PLEASE JUST MOVE FORWARD YOU ARE HARSHING MY MELLOW
Andrea: AS USUSAL
Pat: First, admit that you just tried to beef me by bringing up something from 15 years ago, when two minutes before you brought up something from at least 15-20 years ago.
Yes, that happened.
Pat: You didn’t even understand what I was directing you to read in order that you might understand your hipocracy, did you?
Pat: And circle gets the square.
Similar to the mental jujitsu Eddie performs on Odetta when she’s like, “Uh, you might be a figment of my imagination, honky.”
“…but you know where you lost track of time, and it wasn’t in Oxford.”
So then it’s Detta on the Other Side, which we covered. I think?
Andrea: We did. Because I remember talking about how funny it is that she is a huge pain in the ass while they are traveling.
Pat: Did we talk about the fact that Roland just lets her crawl through the camp while they’re asleep, grab his guns, and nearly kill them both just to teach Eddie to be more wary?
Andrea: Yes. Which is so dumb because he’s the one who makes a point of saying that Detta is as deadly as the lobstrosities.
Pat: There’s also the part where Eddie conflates schizophrenia with multiple personalities, which drives me up a fucking wall. Which is made doubly maddening because Detta Walker DEFINITELY suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.
Andrea: That was probably par for the course at the time this was written. MPD as a diagnosis didn’t surface until the mid 1990s, I’m pretty sure. And even then it was also conflated with bipolar disorder.
Pat: Right? I mean, you agree?
Andrea: I mean, yeah, I think so. I don’t know enough about bipolar to know if it manifests in that way.
Andrea: And I know a couple people with bipolar.
Pat: And the late 19th century.
Andrea: I mean in the public consciousness, not in the field of psychiatry.
Pat: First case is generally thought to have been described in 1646. Wikipedia is the Gunslinger that walks through the open door of my head.
Andrea: So despite the fact that Detta freaks out and is biting them and saying she’s going to kill them with her cunt and whatnot, Eddie is still super gentle when tying her up because he’s stupid.
Pat: Also, in love with her twin sister.
Here’s the thing I wanted to quote the other day, about Detta being a stereotype:
“That was an act, and she knew it was an act. But she’s a pretty good actress and she fooled both of us for a few seconds. The way she’s talking is an act, too. But it’s not as good. It’s so stupid, so goddamhokey!”
“…She sounds like a cross between the darkies in this book called Mandingo I read once and Butterfly McQueen in Gone with the Wind. I know you don’t know those names, but what I mean is she talks like a cliche.”
Andrea: Right. We talked about how SK may have done this so he is not accused of making her a racist caricature. Which is pretty smart.
Pat: Or it may just be an honest way of showing that she’s the fabricated personality. That she is FALSE.
DECRY YOUR FALSE NEGROS, HONKY, AND SUCCUMB TO THE LORD
Which, let’s talk about this: is Odetta/Detta magical?
Second, which magical category does she fall into, the illustrious Magical Negro category, or the Magical Handicapped category?
Andrea: Whoa. My head just exploded. Um, both I think? I mean, she’s not really that magical I don’t think.
Pat: She sort of is, in the end. Or least more towards the middle of the series. So then definitely take two drinks, folks. New drinking game rule: take a drink every time you suspect King just used a word from a Word-a-Day calendar or the like. “Gavotte” definitely fits.
Oh, and also, Detta will not eat lobstrosity meat.
Andrea: That’s right. What else does she eat though? I forget.
Pat: Until Eddie gets an audience with Odetta, who he convinces to try it. Which makes it seem like Odetta’s aversion to seafood is why Detta thinks they’ve poisoned the meat.
Pat: She’s really this kind of puffed-up area of skin around a wound.
Andrea: Ooooh, that’s an interesting take. Yes. Detta is a coping mechanism that allows her to project her anger.
Pat: OW OW HE STABBED ME AGAIN no dude that was a fucking finger, calm down, I was just scratching the area AROUND the bandage.
And then like two pages later, they’re already boning.
Which is very thankfully not explicitly drawn.
Later, with strange galaxies turning in slow gavotte overhead, neither thought the act of love had ever been so sweet, so full.
That’s all we get. Sidenote: “full” because Eddie Dean slings a big gun?
Andrea: So, as much as I was amused by the pushing of the wheelchair on the rocky beach, that sounded like the worst ordeal ever. Especially when I imagined what it would be like while also being feverish.
Pat: Are you seriously going to ignore that I brought up Eddie and Odetta boning?
Andrea: I mean… it is kind of a non-issue to me. It makes him seem like a dumb sap who is not long for this world. He needs more survival instinct (i.e. step away from the crazy).
Pat: Right, I was going to say that. Why would you have sex with someone who could, at any second, turn back into the personality that has previously claimed to have buzzsaws in her vagina?
Andrea: Yeah, no. And obviously is relishing the idea of sticking it to them with some sexual violence based on the comments she keeps making about her “cunny.”
Pat: “Cunny” is the word that makes me feel how other people feel about “cunt.”
Andrea: I agree. Cunny is way worse. It’s the infantilization of it
Pat: Sounds like something Mr. Marsh would say.
Andrea: Also, didn’t Odetta (minus Detta) seem maybe too angelic?
Pat: I think Odetta seems that way in contrast with Detta, and I think that’s also part of the split. Odetta has none of the fire or instinct of Detta, which is why the personalities have to be joined for her to be a part of the quest.
Andrea: She keeps calling the boys “graymeat.”
Pat: Which just makes me think of Castle Grayskull from He-Man.
BY THE POWER OF GRAYMEAATTTTT!!!!
Andrea: I don’t even know what it means, but it still sounds super insulting for some reason.
Pat: Grayskull is where He-Man lives, and he invokes its name when he powers up his sword. Forget it, I’m already not getting laid.
Andrea: No, I meant graymeat. I know what Castle Grayskull is, I live in the world.
Pat: Later on, Odetta’s like, I never boffed a white dude before, maybe that ain’t important to y’all, but there it is, and Eddie’s all, “In the dark, I think we were both gray.”
PUKING PUKE, EDDIE
Andrea: God, why is he such a wiener. It’s totally unbecoming.
Pat: That’s about two seconds before he tells her he loves her. Clingy bastard.
Andrea: Meanwhile, Roland is so sick that he can feel his teeth loosening in his sockets. Shudder.
Pat: So bozo-pants gives her a gun when he goes back for Roland, who they left behind to make better time, and by the time they get back, she’s Detta again, and gone.
Great job, assreed.
Andrea: Roland should just kill them both and fling himself into the sea.
But somehow, he remains infinitely patient, even after Detta starts screaming at the top of her lungs at irregular intervals all night.
Pat: Which, we should point out, was way before this, before Detta went back to being Odetta, and they reached the third door, and she turned back into Detta and did her best version of running for the hills.
Okay, so this new door, triplet to THE PRISONER and THE LADY OF SHADOWS says THE PUSHER. Sort of a druggie vibe happening if you forget the second door. Although Odetta was pushed.
Andrea: That reminds me of that song “The Pusher.” Who did that one?
Pat: No idea.
Andrea: “And I said, goddamn, goddamn that Bible-pushin’ man”
Pat: Yeah, so, Jack Mort.
Andrea: JACK DEATH
GOOD ONE SK THANKS FOR THE FRENCH LESSON
Did we talk about Detta wandering away right around this time?
Pat: That’s the running to the hills I just mentioned.
The SATs, ladies and gentlemen.
Andrea: “Detta’s mind was as ugly as a rat’s ass.”
Pat: We’ll throw that in somewhere appropriate.
Jack Mort, go.
Andrea: I found this part really confusing. So Jack Mort is the adult version of the kid from the first book?
Andrea: And now he’s an accountant who likes to push people into traffic?
Pat: This is what I have to work with, folks.
The kid from the first book?
Pat: I’m not even going to bother disproving this by pointing out that Jack Mort is the one that’s supposed to push Jake.
Andrea: That is what I am saying, I found this confusing, and it lacked narrative flow. Probably because the names are so close.
Pat: Kind of a red herring, story-wise, this whole part at the beginning with Mort prepping to push Jake, who he apparently actually pushes at a later date. Sending him to the way station in The Gunslinger.
Although, I guess, technically he can’t after Roland rides through his head.
Andrea: AND are we to believe that this is a flashback, and he was the one who dropped the brick on Odetta? Or is this just a parallel happening?
Pat: The brick is a flashback. That’s made pretty apparent. The gunslinger sees the memory and faints from the KA-ness of it.
Andrea: KA ON FIRE
Pat: Yeah, okay.
But look, listen here. So if Jack Mort dies after Roland gets into him and does what he needs to, then Jake never gets pushed, never dies, never goes to Mid-World and meets Roland. Right?
Andrea: Yes. This is why this series kind of make my brain hurt a little
Pat: So then if Roland changing Jake’s past changes Jake’s life, why doesn’t Jake not ever being in Mid-World affect Roland’s life?
Andrea: Because Ashton Kutcher movies.
Pat: That would argue that it SHOULD affect Roland’s life.
Or does Ashton Kutcher retain previous timeline’s memories WHY DO I EVEN CARE ABOUT BUTTERFLY EFFECT I DON’T AT ALL
Pat: I care about Mort. We haven’t really talked about him properly.
Andrea: He was my least favorite of the three. It felt like they just squished him in at the end.
Pat: Step aside, peck.
Jack Mort is a crazy person who likes to push people or drop things on them. Roland pops in to visit his head and finds out that this is the dude that pushed Jake to his death, which allowed him to visit Mid-World in the last book.
Pat: Well, what about this, though: it’s the drawing of the three, right? And we’ve got Eddie Dean as the Prisoner, Odetta Walker as the Lady of Shadows, and it turns out that Roland himself is most likely the third one drawn, as Death.
Andrea: And, as we discussed, this event causes baffling lapses in continuity
Pat: Which is EXTRA WEIRD because by becoming Death in the guise of Jack Mort, he has most likely saved Jake’s life.
Andrea: So the gunslinger is controlling Jack “as if he were only a human doll.”
Pat: HOW ABOUT you respond to what I just said. You know, like we’re having a conversation.
Andrea: I mean, we covered that yesterday, yes? If Jake lived than how does that affect the rest of the story?
Pat: I’m talking about Roland being the third person drawn. And being drawn as Death. “Death… but not for you,” is what I think Marten said.
Andrea: I mean… I don’t feel like I really have a sense of what the implications are for that yet. If he’s death, does that mean he’ll end by slaughtering everyone?
Pat: That’d be the most literal way to think of it. Or you can view it in terms of everyone he comes into contact with seems to come to no good end.
Allie, Jake, the Man In Black, the ENTIRE TOWN of Hull. All his gunslinger friends, Cuthbert, Alain, that chick.
Andrea: Which begs the question, is he supposed to be a savior of something? Of what exactly?
Pat: All existence.
Andrea: Right. Some eggs have to be broken to make an omelet, so to speak
Pat: That’s the prize of this quest. Restoring failing reality to stability.
The greater good, yeah. Real Wrath Of Khan shit.
Andrea: I know nothing about that of which you speak.
Pat: So you think, by drawing Eddie and Odetta, he’s sort of consigning them to death, as he’s done with everyone else he’s drawn into his quest.
Andrea: Yes. Which is why if I were Eddie, I’d be super pissed.
Pat: And it seems like this is the first time he’s absolutely conscious of it.
Andrea: Oh yeah, and Aaron Patrick is in talks to play Eddie. As you surmised.
Pat: So who’s Aaron Paul in talks to play, then?
Andrea: Who is Aaron Patrick?
Pat: Probably a public accountant.
I could not possibly be more opposed to him playing Eddie Dean.
Andrea: Who do you think would be better? Besides your own fool self
Pat: I’m sure he’d be great. He was great as a meth addict in Breaking Bad. He was great as an alcoholic in Smashed. But by dint of his involvement in Breaking Bad, it just seems too paint-by-numbers.
Everyone will be waiting for him to called Roland a bitch.
I don’t think there’s a single role in the Dark Tower series that wouldn’t benefit from being played by an unknown.
Including—and probably especially—Roland.
Andrea: I agree to some extent.
So we get inside Detta’s head a little bit in the next section.
Pat: No, we don’t get into Detta’s head in the next section. We’re in Mort’s head, where Roland has tooled around and found out that Mort is the dude who dropped the brick on Odetta’s head when she was a child, creating the trauma that made it possible for Detta to exist.
Andrea: Yeah, WE TALKED ABOUT THAT
Pat: Also, the Don’t Bee shows up. Which comes back around in Misery.
Andrea: What is the Don’t Bee?
Pat: “Only Don’t Bees left fingerprints.”
Pat: “Looking around was also only for Don’t Bees.”
“Do Bees knew that trying to see if someone was noticing you was a sure way to accomplish just that.”
Which just makes me think, “Do bee do bee doooooo,” which I can’t place.
Andrea: Me either, although it is achingly familiar.
Pat: We definitely haven’t discussed that Jack “creams” his pants every time he drops a brick on someone.
Andrea: I am turning over a new leaf where I don’t focus only on the dirty parts. But yes, dropping bricks on people makes Jack come in his pants. Fun!
That just seems messy.
Pat: Hopefully he wore a condom. Do Bees wear condoms if they’re gonna cream their pants.
What really fucks Roland up is that Mort dropped the brick on Odetta’s head, then a long time afterwards, pushed her onto the train tracks where she lost her legs, and in the near future (in this time period), he’s going to push Jake in front of a car. I bet SK removed a section where he dabbled with the idea of Jack Mort diddling Eddie as a kid or something.
Andrea: I would not be shocked at all. So basically, there is a sphere of people around Roland who are fucked, primarily at the hands of Jack Mort.
Pat: Well, there are two.
Which is a pretty low—if very poignant—number.
Andrea: I meant in this book, not in the universe.
Pat: And Roland basically passes out in Mort’s head from the KA of it all, wakes up and takes control. Meanwhile, fucking Detta Walker is doing her graymeat-hating trap shit. Please to tell the readers about it while I smoke.
So Detta is creepin. She’s watching the honkies while they sleep. But first, she’s hiding in the rocks while Eddie runs up and down the beach screaming for her more lovable counterpart. This is also where we learn that she refers to Roland in her head as the “Really Bad Man.” BUT THEN: Eddie walks back down to the wheelchair and gives it almost a caress; when Detta sees this, she feels a “bolt of pain” that is presumably Odetta trying to make herself known. She is kinda nervous about Roland returning, and worries that she won’t be able to take him down because he’ll somehow instinctively know that she killed Eddie and act accordingly.
Pat: There is something absolutely gut-sickeningly creepy and disturbing about the image of a nearly legless woman slithering along a rockface.
…continued her snake-crawl to where he lay, the flat sheen of murder in her eyes.
Andrea: And all the bones of little animals that had crawled into the rocks to escape predators and got trapped.
Pat: Luckily, she doesn’t smash his head in with a rock, as planned. Instead she hog-ties him near where high tide comes, so that he’ll be in claw’s length of the lobstrosities when they question their way onto the beach.
Andrea: Oh man. Worst way to die?
Pat: She seems like she senses at least the danger of killing Eddie, although maybe not the very strong possibility that killing Eddie may close the door with Roland still in Mort’s head.
Pat: She may be delusional, but she ain’t necessarily stupid.
Andrea: She also knows that the tower is really important. She’s imagining it filled with gold and jewels, which seems to be shorthand for her of magic.
Pat: ALL KINDS OF FORSPECIALS TO BREAK
WHILST TOUCHING HERSELF
God, what a weird fucking sub-character.
Andrea: Well, it makes sense that she is sex-obsessed since Detta is so repressed.
Pat: Wait a minute. Wait a goddamn minute.
Detta is very eerily similar to Jack Mort in that way. The sexual component to their chosen methods of breaking the law.
Pat: Is this an extraordinarily subtle way of SK saying that evil begets evil?
Andrea: I don’t know. He doesn’t seem like that brand of prude.
Pat: Uncle Stevie says, “Hangdowns and hoohas make us do evil things!”
Andrea: Spanky on my hangdown. Was that the phrase?
Get some stanky on my hangdown?
Pat: I believe it was, “Get some stank on my hanglow.”
As the Vicar said to the Pontiff.
Andrea: Ah. Let’s bring it back into parlance.
Pat: Your advocacy almost ensures that it will fail to enter the zeitgiest.
Pat: You are the anti-geist.
Pat: So we make our way back to Roland and Mort, where again, not for the last time in this series of books, it gets a little over-the-top with the fish-out-of-water shit.
Andrea: That is dumb.
Pat: How about encyclomortia? Mortypedia? The ‘c’ in there REALLY bothers me.
Pat: “TACK-SEES.” All right all right all right, we get it. WE GET IT.
Roland takes one right to a gun store, where more FISH OUT OF WATER-ness happens. Where the clerk tells him not to cream his jeans over the bullets, seemingly knowing instinctively that Mort is the sort of guy who does just that.
Andrea: This was one of the better fish out of water parts.
Pat: I… I will actually grant that.
Although I’m not sure the whole involved subterfuge of getting the police involved was necessary for him to get the bullets he needed. Like, all of that, just to have TWO MORE PEOPLE he has to knock unconscious? He could damn well have just disarmed the spring-clip and the clerk’s hidden gun his own damn self.
Andrea: It was perhaps not the most efficient. Soooooo shall we discuss when he gets to the pharmacy?
Pat: Well, very quickly, he doesn’t have a gun permit, can’t purchase all the delicious bullets he wants, so he tells a couple of “constables” that the clerk took his wallet, knowing they’ll figure out he has an illegal gun behind the counter, disarm him, at which point Roland can knock the cops out and take everything he could possibly want from the store.
Roland considers the cops fellow gunslingers, lawbringers.
Andrea: Oh, that was kinda cutely naïve of him
Pat: Or is it JADED OF YOU?
Andrea: Jaded of me? Moi? How so?
Pat: Because, man, they kind of are. First of all, the obvious: they sling guns.
Second, much like Roland, they are there to restore order. Or keep it.
Andrea: I don’t know if I really think of Roland as being there to restore order.
Andrea: I mean, some kind of magical big picture order, yes, but not the day-to-day petty order that cops focus on.
Pat: That was the charge of the gunslingers back in Gilead.
They weren’t a hunting club, you know.
Andrea: So Roland gets out of the store.
Pat: Although for some reason, Roland doesn’t take all that much. I mean, Christ, dude, take a few more guns that take the same ammo.
Andrea: A bummer for the clerk, but good for our intrepid gunslinger.
Pat: I guess he probably doesn’t know about grenades. And the store probably doesn’t have them. But what about a shotgun? A nice little rifle with a scope?
Andrea: I think he probably just wanted to get in and get out without drawing too much attention. Or having too much stuff to carry.
Pat: I’ll grant the carrying problem. But still. An extra gun or two wouldn’t have hurt. And the store must’ve had some sort of bag or another.
Andrea: Okay so now we get the freakout lady who can’t get her Valium.
Pat: So King is so busy going all minutiae on us about Mid-World versus Earth that he doesn’t even bother to do some cultural zeitgeisting by addressing Roland’s attention to the fact that EVERYONE in America can get a gun, whereas in Gilead, you have to go through years of motherfucking training and basically be dedicated ONLY to slangin’ guns.
Andrea: Or maybe Roland is so deep in culture shock that he doesn’t even notice. I mean, he is kind of shell-shocked by the selection of guns and bullets.
Pat: But at the very least, the AMOUNT of guns and ammo, which he’s never in his life seen such an abundance of, should at least trigger his VERY POINTEDLY DESCRIBED SUPER OBSERVATIONAL SKILLS into going, wait, fuck, how many people own guns in this world if they need this many to sell at all times?
Andrea: Well yes, this is clearly an error in the writing.
Pat: I wouldn’t say it’s an error. A missed opportunity.
As he’s heading off to the pharmacy, Eddie is enjoying a little time with the lobstrosities.
Andrea: OH GOD IT RIPPED OFF PART OF HIS FACE AND EYE
Andrea: JESUS GOD IS THERE ANYTHING WORSE
Pat: Does it GET his eye? I don’t know what “splattering his left eye to jelly” means.
Pat: I don’t think so. Eddie is never described as one-eyed that I can remember in the next six books.
Andrea: It means that it gouges his eye out. No jellied eye is gonna be seeing again.
Pat: I think the blood jellies his eye.
Oh, and it’s not real.
So there’s that.
Andrea: Ah, I guess that makes sense. I totally thought it got his eye though. It’s described really vividly. I don’t really want any part of my body to be jellied.
Pat: Roland is simply imagining it as he goes off to the drug store. It just seems like it’s real at first because it’s right after Eddie’s interior thoughts and Detta’s exterior jive-ness on the Western Shore.
Andrea: Ah, yes.
So that’s when we get the Valium freak-out lady.
Pat: In a place that promised alchemy but dealt more in perfume than potion, was it any wonder that wonder had run out? Here, the Mortcypedia gives up the terms “DOCKTORS” and “REXES,” which begs the question you will hate me asking, which is: why the fuck can’t he see the spelling of things?
Andrea: I have no clue. Maybe he thinks they are spelling them wrong.
Pat: Which, he CAN. There’s no way he’s HEARING the Mortcypedia say “Rx.” He’d have to be seeing it. So we’re getting the spelled-out version of his idea of how to pronounced spelled-out words. What the fuck kind of game of Telephone is that?
Andrea: I think that you are thinking way deeper about this than SK did. Is the thing.
Pat: Isn’t that our JOB?
Andrea: ….one of them I guess?
Pat: This might be a good time for me and a bad time for you to discuss the whole thing about Roland’s reading. Did you get the feeling that I did, where he can read capital letters, but not lower-case? Because capital letters are Gileadean “Great Letters”?
Andrea: I did not get that feeling. Because I’m not a champion nitpicker.
Pat: I’m not nitpicking, I’m trying to understand something that comes up A FUCKING TON OF TIMES IN THIS BOOK.
I am asking you WHAT YOU THOUGHT.
Andrea: I did not think about it. It did not occur to me in the least bit.
Pat: You should read more with your BRAIN instead of just your EYES, honky mahfah.
Pat: So Katz versus Valium Lady, which you seem absolutely chuffed to talk about, since it is so INTEGRAL to the story, not picayune like WHAT ALL ROLAND CAN FUCKING READ.
Tell our readers about it, and why you are so into it.
Andrea: NO because I am trying to move us along here. And you are all like OKAY SO CONTRIBUTE TO THE DISCUSSION but you never want to talk about what I am contributing.
Pat: RIGHT NOW WE ARE DOING IT
TELL US OF KATZ V. RATHBUN
The implication being that her hair is probably in a bun, and that bun is tight and full of wrath.
Andrea: This bitch Rathbun needs her Valium. She calls the drugstore tacky.
Pat: Katz is like second generation pharmacist and owner. Maybe third?
And he hates the fucking place.
Andrea: I like that he calls her a crotch
Pat: Oh, I noted that!
Just because it’s the second time he uses that dubious insult.
Andrea: That is an insult we should all start using.
Pat: In IT, Beverly’s husband calls her a nickel-plated crotch, I do believe.
Andrea: Buuuuuuut I think this part is in there to give Roland a moment to reflect on Eddie. Since he immediately recognizes the woman’s tone as “call of the wild junk bird.”
Pat: Roland does not notice it. King is commenting on the fact that Eddie would recognize the call.
Andrea: Oh yeah, you’re right.
Okay, this may be the best line in the book:
“HIM AND HIS FAG BOYFRIEND ARE ON VACATION SOMEPLACE AND NO ONE WILL TELL ME WHERE!”
Pat: Good thing she slipped “fag” in there, or we wouldn’t have known that HIS boyfriend was gay.
So then Roland uses the curved security mirror to shoot the gun out of the guard’s hand, while also noting that curved glass is technologically advanced where he comes from. Although where he comes from has clearly already had nuclear power in some parts of the world. Also: CRYSTAL FUCKING BALLS ARE CURVED
Andrea: Katz could not be more shocked to learn that he’s getting held up not for cocaine, but for penicillin.
Pat: And then Roland pays for it with Mort’s Rolex, which is about 100 times more valuable than the antibiotics.
Andrea: But who needs Rolexes in the land of lobstrosities?
A comment on the futility of wealth from SK, perhaps?
Pat: I think it’s a comment on Roland not understanding the value of things in our world. I’m willing to bet a watch and Keflex are roughly equivalent in value over there. Both hugely expensive.
But I dig what you’re saying.
Andrea: Really? You “dig” it?
Pat: You heard me, crotch.
Andrea: So Roland is waiting for the putzy assistant to fill his order and admiring the gun.
Pat: We’re already at his shooting the guard’s gun and paying for the Keflex. It is now time for the cops he disarmed to show up.
The thesis of this section is “911 Is A Joke.” A rap song by Public Enemy and Stephen King.
Andrea: Oh yeah, so the cop Carl Delevan. Did they amnesia him or what?
Pat: Did who amnesia him?
Andrea: I DON’T KNOW
Pat: You’re the one who SAID it.
Andrea: It says in the next section that he claims to not remember. Let’s just move on from the drugstore thing, it feels like quicksand that we never get past talking about.
Pat: It was probably just trauma.
Andrea: NEXT. Jack Mort is gibbering. And trying to escape his “weird kidnapper.”
Pat: Well, there’s the part where they steal the cop’s cruiser and are spotted by other cops in the Village, who give chase, creating another spectacularly dangerous incident for civilians nearby.
Andrea: In which Roland threatens to gouge out Mort’s eye and wipe it on the seat like a booger if he doesn’t keep his trap shut.
Pat: Also, they’re saved because Mort has a lighter in the jacket pocket where the bullet strikes him. It’s not a bible, but still, a little cliché.
Andrea: Completely cliché.
I mean, our buddy SK does not STRAY from the CLICHÉ.
Pat: It’s true. Although when a bullet strikes a pocket bible, they generally don’t set the person on fire.
Andrea: SO then he takes Roland to Greenwich Village because Roland is insisting on seeing the place where he pushed Odetta in front of the train.
Pat: You are bad at reading. He’s just using the memory to indicate to Mort where he wants to go: a subway station.
I read this sooooooo long ago
Pat: Anyway, Mort is on fire. And they’re already on the train platform. So on his way through the door, he’s like, hey, crazy black ladies, look into the doorway and thus yo’selves.
Andrea: So then the cops find the car and pull out they weapons on the subway platform.
Andrea: And the unlikely lighter thing happens, fire, blah blah.
I assumed this was all part of the magic of being in the gunslingers stead.
Pat: Okay, first of all, I’m not sure why you’re ignoring what I’m saying and doubling back to things we’ve already talked about.
Andrea: UGH IDK CAUSE HATE RAGE SIGN
Pat: Second of all, the magic of being in the gunslinger’s stead, which isn’t what “stead” means,” wouldn’t have made Mort carry a lighter for years to curry favor with his boss.
Andrea: …anyway. Roland pulls down Mort’s pants to find “white
underdrawers like a whore’s panties,” which he is confused by. Which I guess means that in his world men wear some other kind of undies? Codpiece perhaps?
Pat: I’m guessing there’s not a lot of white clothes in Mid-World, owing to them maybe not having bleach? Also, I think there’s an indication here that men don’t wear underwear in his world. He just thinks they’re women’s panties.
Andrea: Nor do women of virtue, apparently.
It’s worth mentioning that there’s a reason for Roland pulling down Mort’s pants.
Andrea: Because the bullets would get hot and explode.
Pat: And to save the Keflex. And I think to make going through the doorway easier.
Andrea: Which they have to do by the total nightmare action of jumping in front of the train.
Pat: Which he does by jumping onto the tracks, where he leaves Mort’s body to die in a very poetic and circle-closing way.
Andrea: While Odetta simultaneously looks through the door? This seems risky.
Jack Mort died alone.
Pat: That’s a good one. I wondered why he didn’t do one of his patented single-line chapters for that.
Andrea: I don’t know because I love that. It doesn’t seem like he does that much/at all in this series?
Pat: He has some pretty short-ass chapters.
Pat: That was the point. He’s trying to get Odetta and Detta to see each other finally, so they can fight it out, and the best way he can think of to do that is to show them the face of the man who took their legs. Alongside the weird mirror power the doorway has on their personalities.
Andrea: Right so then there is that weird part where they are both physical forms fighting against each other.
Pat: It never says they’re two women from Roland or Eddie’s perspective, does it? I think it was all in her head.
Andrea: I don’t think so, I do think it implies physicality but I could be reading too much into it.
Pat: It’s a Stephen King novel. I don’t think she literally split in two on the beach, because at no point does she merge physically back into one person. It’s all in her head.
Andrea: …but now the dream was real, the dream was clawing her throat and trying to kill her as the gunslinger tried to save his friend.
Pat: I don’t know why you’re being so literal. This is a Fight Club situation here.
That must’ve been a very confusing movie for you. “NO TYLER DURDEN IS REAL I SAW HIM EARLIER IN THE MOVIE.”
Andrea: UGH I hate you sometimes, wait actually like 99 percent of time.
Pat: Why, because I’m right?
Meanwhile back at the ranch, Roland is trying to save Eddie from the lobsters who are ripping giant chunks out of his skin while chick-a-chawing away.
What are they, one of the Bluth family? I’m not letting you summarize anymore,
New Odetta, now whole, now a new third version of herself, goes into stumpy action and shoots them lobster mahfahs, which Detta cheering her on in her head.
Pat: So she’s still a little batty.
Andrea: Which I enjoy.
Pat: “Who are you?” he husked, as darkness deeper than night began to take him down.
“I am three women,” he heard her say, and it was as if she were speaking to him from the top of a deep well into which he was falling. “I who was; I who had no right to be but was; I am the woman who you have saved.
Andrea: OH GOD
They need to just shut up already.
Pat: It gets a little Western-y from time to time.
Andrea: Which I despise, but it’s okay in small doses.
I just hope the doses do not get bigger as the series continues.
So all is well and Roland is hunting deer and recovering from the fever and everyone is with him on this journey and at some point Eddie kisses his cheek. And the gunslinger weeps at a campfire.
Andrea: He has some peace, for once: “For the first time in what seemed like
a thousand years, the gunslinger was not thinking about the Dark Tower. He thought only about the deer which had come down to the pool in the woodland clearing.”
Pat: He has no peace, get a grip, Hallowell.
Pat: Also, Odetta is now Susannah. Oh don’t you cry for me.
Andrea: “We all die in time, I’ll sing their names, blah blah, FIN”
Pat: Which will totally weird out whoever’s in the Dark Tower.
“…is there a homeless guy SINGING down there?”
Andrea: Final thoughts: I liked this while I read it but that like has faded in the 95 years it took us to discuss. It was better than first book, which I also liked. BUUUUUUT neither are as good as his more traditional horror stuff as far as I’m concerned.
Pat: It’s nice to have friends. Roland has some friends.
Andrea: Awwwww. THREE FRIENDS
Pat: This is one of the better books in the series. Although the next one, if I’m remembering correctly, is also damn good. After The Talisman, you’re going to be up your butt about the similarities, though.
And Roland will collect one more friend. BECAUSE HE HASN’T REALLY DRAWN THREE. Or he has. Maybe he’s drawn three and the third was himself and the next gunslinger is just a fourth person that Marten didn’t mention because he’s kind of a prick.
Andrea: I’LL CARE MORE WHEN WE GET THERE
Pat: That’s the story of the Dark Tower, Andrea.