Nov 28 2011 11:30am

A Read of the Dark Tower: Constant Reader Tackles The Drawing of the Three, The Pusher: Roland Takes His Medicine

A Read of The Dark Tower on Tor.comThree. This is the number of your fate.

Welcome to A Read of the Dark Tower series. Join me each week as I, Constant Reader, tackle the magnum opus of Stephen King’s career for the first time. If you want to discuss in general terms or talk about these first sections, join me by commenting here.

We last left Eddie Dean trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey, lying below the high-tide line and waiting for the lobstrosities to arrive, while a heavily armed and stone-cold mean Detta stood watch. Roland was tending to business and freaking out in the sociopathic mind of Jack Mort.

The Drawing of the Three — “Roland Takes His Medicine,” Section 1

We’re back with Roland inside the ugly mind of Jack Mort. Jack’s in a freakout over the brain invasion, but “because Mort was a monster — worse than Detta Walker ever had been or could be,” Roland doesn’t bother to “palaver” with him. Instead, he lets Jack scream and focuses on the list of things he needs to accomplish, digging around in Jack’s memory like it’s a “combination atlas and encyclopedia.”

What Constant Reader Learns: We’re told that Roland likes to improvise so a loose plan of action is all he needs. “When it came to planning, there were no creatures in the universe more different than Roland and Jack Mort.” Jack likes to plan out every move of his Pushes, even down to his getaway costume. Roland likes to improvise, which we’re told “has always been one of Roland’s strong points.” This is gonna be fun, I think…well, maybe not for old Jack.


The Drawing of the Three — “Roland Takes His Medicine,” Section 2

Last time we actually saw Jack, he was in his office. Roland had “come forward” and directed Jack to leave work early. Jack gets on the elevator, which freaks Roland out when it starts moving until the Mortcypedia (aka Jack’s brain) reassures him that hurtling downward in a metal box is an okay thing.

One of Jack’s coworkers is babbling in the elevator until Roland looks at him and tells him to shut up. In a fine little bit of point-of-view hopping, we learn the man on the elevator kind of hopes Jack is on his way toward a breakdown and a stay in a sanitarium.

What Constant Reader Learns: Well, we have a new vocabulary word this week, kiddies: Mortcypedia.

A minor sign the world has moved on: When’s the last time you heard the word “sanitarium”? The PC police would be out in force.


The Drawing of the Three — “Roland Takes His Medicine,” Section 3

The Mortcypedia continues to inform Roland of the world as he moves out of the building and onto the street. Jack Mort, after being freaked out and ignored, has fainted.

Roland is directed by the Mortcypedia to take one of the “tack-sees,” all of which are driven by tribes of “spix” or “mockies,” the latter an ethnic slur I had to look up, should you ever want to insult your Hispanic or Jewish friends. (The cabbie is actually, we’re told, a WASP from Vermont trying to break into show business.)

Between the Mortcypedia’s instructions and Roland’s cold eyes, the cabbie is sufficiently alarmed by the time he drops Roland off and is glad to be rid of him.

What Constant Reader Learns: I think Stephen King was as entertained by Mortcypedia as I was by lobstrosities. He’s using it, like, every other line.

Convenient Fainting Disease seems to be spreading like a lobstrosity-inflicted infection. Nice that when Jack faints, the Mortcypedia keeps on working.

More ethnic slurs, probably used to establish Jack Mort’s bad character (and, really, did we need anything else?).


The Drawing of the Three — “Roland Takes His Medicine,” Section 4

As soon as Roland exits the “tack-see,” he sees a police car he immediately reads as posse, even without the Mortcypedia. He sees two gunslingers inside the car, drinking coffee, and Roland doesn’t think they look like very fit gunslingers.

Through Roland’s eyes, we see the sign above the storefront he’s come to: guns and sporting goods. Roland sees guns in the window and knows he’s at the right place. He stands at the window for a while, digging through the Mortcypedia and formulating a plan.

What Constant Reader Learns:Interesting that Roland identifies the cops right away as “posse” members and “gunslingers,” because he wouldn’t have been able to see their guns with them sitting in the squad car drinking coffee. But Ro’s smart like that.


The Drawing of the Three — “Roland Takes His Medicine,” Section 5

The cops notice RoJack looking in the gun shop window and make bad jokes about his sexual orientation.

What Constant Reader Learns:Just so we can continue our litany of ethnic and cultural slurs, we have the cops doing a little good-humored gay bashing. Because this whole politically incorrect theme seems to run throughout this book, makes me wonder what was driving it? What role does it have to play in our story — that Roland’s world is better? That when the world moved on, it left some of the ignorance and bigotry behind? That in a brutal world like Roland’s where mere survival is a battle, there’s no time to worry about hating someone else for their race or ethnicity or sexual orientation? Just tossing this out there for discussion, oh wise readers who know where this whole story is going. What do you think?


The Drawing of the Three — “Roland Takes His Medicine,” Section 6

RoJack goes into the shop and, after consulting the Mortcypedia, asks to see a caliber chart. He’s given a copy of the Shooter’s Bible, which Roland finds exciting. He’s even more thrilled when he sees photography for what appears to be the first time — the Mortcypedia calls them “Fottergraffs.”

Finally, Roland sees a Fottergraff of a .45 pistol shell, and knows it will work with his guns. He is astounded that there are 50 bullets in a box, and that he can buy 150 bullets with the money in Jack Mort’s wallet. Such riches!

Roland’s story that he has his brother’s old revolver he wants to buy ammo for sounds fishy to the clerk since Roland is so clueless about the number of shells in a box. He knows that unless his customer has a handgun permit — and he suspects he doesn’t — this sale isn’t gonna happen.

Roland, however, as we’ve been told, is good at improvising and he quickly concocts a plan involving the “gunslinger” cops outside in their “carriage.” He asks to look at a cleaning kit, and while the clerk turns away, quickly drops Jack’s wallet on the floor and kicks it under the counter. “Roland had set out his own honeypot,” we’re told.

What Constant Reader Learns: I love it when Roland encounters the things in this world with such wonder — like the idea that he can cheaply buy all the bullets his little heart desires. “Ye gods! What a mad storehouse of riches this world has!” he thinks.


The Drawing of the Three — “Roland Takes His Medicine,” Section 7

Officers Delevan and O’Mearah are finishing their coffee as RoJack approaches their squad car. RoJack’s voice is flat and “expressionless,” not “fruity” like they expected. The cops are very interested when they hear that the store clerk has stolen RoJack’s wallet — they’ve been after the owner of the store for a while.

What Constant Reader Learns: Stephen King does one of those weird sidetracks here where we’re not only told something is going to happen that will almost cost the cops their jobs but that O’Mearah will take his sons to a museum years later and see something that will remind him of “Blue Suit” and that Delevan in nine years will see someone in a movie and scream “That’s him — that’s the guy in the f*ing blue suit!” — but he won’t finish his sentence because he drops dead of a heart attack. And that the star of the movie didn’t look like RoJack but delivered words in the same tone. The movie was The Terminator. This is all kind of clever…but just odd. It does tell us that RoJack sounds like a robot on steroids, I guess.


The Drawing of the Three — “Roland Takes His Medicine,” Section 8

The cops realize the store owner isn’t the one RoJack is talking about but, instead, it’s the owner’s brother-in-law — almost as good. Consulting the Mortcypedia, Roland is able to give them Jack’s name, address, and social security number, as well as a rambling story about how the clerk saw money in his wallet from a client who wanted to be paid in cash. Oh, and by the way, the clerk pulled a gun on him. This really interests the cops, especially that the gun behind the counter has an illegal spring-clip.

What Ro knows he can’t do, however, is give them a signature that will match the ones on Jack’s driver’s license and credit cards — at least not while Jack is still unconscious.

The cops tell RoJack to wait a full minute before following them in the story. He gives them thirty seconds.

What Constant Reader Learns: Okay, I had to laugh that sociopath Jack mort has a photo of his mommy in his wallet. What a sick freak. Oh, wait, you have a photo of your mommy in your wallet? Sorry.


The Drawing of the Three — “Roland Takes His Medicine,” Section 9

The clerk, Fat Johnny Holden, is outraged that he’d be accused of stealing the crazy guy’s wallet, and denies everything. The cops, of course, find the gun, and the clerk starts talking about his lawyer.

They’re all arguing so they don’t notice, RoJack turn the OPEN sign to CLOSED. But they listen when he leans over and points out the wallet under the case. When Abbott and Costello — uh, I mean, the cops — lean over, head to head, to look under the counter, RoJack takes their heads and cracks them together hard enough to knock them out cold. And RoJack comes up with the clerk’s .357 Magnum.

He has the clerk give him four boxes of ammo — which he pays for — then tells him to take out a pair of wristbands (the Mortcypedia tells him to say “handcuffs”). He cuffs the clerk, then takes the gunbelts off the cops and crisscrosses them across his hips under Jack’s suit coat.

What Constant Reader Learns: Roland is always aware that he’s not here to hurt anyone — just to get what he needs. So he doesn’t kill the cops, and he doesn’t kill the clerk. Love that this stays so true to the character of the gunslinger we’ve come to know. Ruthless…and yet not when he doesn’t have to be.

An interesting little flashback from Roland that he has killed other gunslingers before — didn’t “Alain himself, one of his sworn brothers, die under Roland’s and Cuthbert’s own smoking guns?” It’s a nice reminder of Roland’s past, which we haven’t seen much of in this book.

Okay, let’s thrown in a few fart jokes while we’re being politically incorrect — the clerk bends over to pick up the wallet and thinks his own gasular expulsion is a gunshot, something Roland finds faintly amusing.


The Drawing of the Three — “Roland Takes His Medicine,” Section 10

When Fat Johnny turns back around and sees RoJack with the gunbelts crossed on his hips, he immediately thinks of classic TV gunslingers. “With the suit and tie the effect should have been ludicrous, but somehow it wasn’t.”

RoJack then asks where the nearest drugstore is (after consulting the Mortcypedia for the proper term.

What Constant Reader Learns: Roland pays for his bullets, as a good gunslinger would, and after a few minutes spent with RoJack, Fat Johnny decides it’s time for him to get right with God. Guess meeting the combination of a sociopath and a gunslinger will do that to you.


The Drawing of the Three — “Roland Takes His Medicine,” Section 11

Whoops — we’re suddenly back to Eddie, lying trussed up on the sand waiting to be eaten. He refuses to beg Detta for help. “Begging would degrade him,” we’re told. “He had lived a degrading life; he discovered that he had no wish to degrade himself further in the last few minutes of it.” Eddie just hopes he can die without screaming, although he doesn’t think that’s possible.

What Constant Reader Learns: Eddie is thinking about Roland, whom he no longer thinks will get back in time to save him. I wonder if it’s Roland’s influence (and maybe sobriety) that’s forced Eddie to grow up a bit. I know that, somehow, Eddie’s going to be saved. I just haven’t figured out how, exactly.


The Drawing of the Three — “Roland Takes His Medicine,” Section 12

The lobstrosities are here, and the first one rips off “a swath” of Eddie’s face, “splattering his left eye to jelly and revealing the bright gleam of bone in the twilight.” Detta laughs in the background. ….then we shift to Roland, and maybe he’s just imagining that happening. *beats head on desk in confusion*

RoJack goes to the drugstore, trying not to think about Eddie and refusing to let himself look back through the door to the beach and see what’s happening.

What Constant Reader Learns: Well, hell…this is like the “Who Shot JR” cliffhanger season on the old “Dallas” TV show, where the whole shocker turns out to be a dream. Maybe. We shift abruptly back to Roland after the lobstrosity “attack” and he’s telling himself to stop thinking such thoughts because the whole lobstrosity-eats-Eddie thing might not have to happen. So I don’t know if it happened or not. This annoys me because I’d already started worry about Eddie’s lost eyeball.


The Drawing of the Three — “Roland Takes His Medicine,” Section 13

Entering the drugstore, Roland reflects on the many alchemists, enchanters and magicians he has encountered. Some real, some successful fakes (because “there has never been a shortage of fools in the world).  Some could even call the demons or the dead. Roland specifically recalls Marten, “who, he suspected, he might meet again before he reached the Tower…or at it.” Yeah, I suspect that too, Roland.

So the bright, merchandise-filled interior of the modern drugstore was a surprising thing to Roland. He had to stop inside the door and gape at it. “Here he was in a world which struck him dumb with fresh wonders seemingly at every step, a world where carriages flew through the air and paper seemed as cheap as sand. And the newest wonder was simply that for these people, wonder had run out: here, in a place of miracles, he saw only dull faces and plodding bodies.”

But Roland learns from the Mortcypedia that the real drugs are in the back, so he heads to the prescription counter.

What Constant Reader Learns: When Roland’s reflecting on his past encounters with alchemists, magicians and demons, he recalls a creature he once encountered that the gunslinger believed to be a demon himself — “a creature that pretended to be a man and called itself Flagg.” How utterly cool to see that Roland saw Randall Flagg briefly, “near the end, as chaos and the final crash approached his land.” Flagg was being pursued by two young men named Dennis and Thomas, and they “had crossed only a tiny part of what had been a confused and confusing time in the gunslinger’s life.” I hope we get to see this encounter during the DT series!

Roland’s observation that our modern world is one in which nothing is magical or wondrous anymore feels like a Theme coming on, as we old English majors used to say.


The Drawing of the Three — “Roland Takes His Medicine,” Section 14

Here we meet the druggist/owner, Mr. Katz — son of the store’s founder who looks twenty years older than his age and resents being saddled with the store. He’s arguing with an old lady on the phone, Mrs. Rathbun, who wants her Valium. They exchange some derogatory thoughts and comments about gay people and stereotypes about Jewish people, to keep our ethnic slur theme marching along. He finally gets her off the phone when his assistant tells him there’s a problem.

The scream and gunfire probably would have given it away pretty soon, because he looks up and into the eyes of the gunslinger, who’s pointing one of the cops’ pistols at him. The security guard’s gun is smoking and mangled in the corner.

“I want Keflex,” RoJack tells Mr. Katz. “I want a lot. Now. And never mind the REX” (the Mortcypedia’s explanation for a prescription).

What Constant Reader Learns: Roland’s pretty good at shooting the other weapon out of someone’s hand. He’s used that trick a couple of times before….and what in the world is he up to? Must. Keep. Going.


The Drawing of the Three — “Roland Takes His Medicine,” Section 15

Katz the druggist thinks RoJack couldn’t possibly have request Keflex, so he tells him there is no cocaine. But no, RoJack repeats, he wants Keflex. Katz thinks he has the worst luck around. “He thought this might be the first penicillin robbery in history.”

Katz looks past RoJack’s shoulder, which was enough to tip Roland off that he needed to act. He whirls and fires, blowing out a plate-glass window. People scream and run. Then Roland turns back and tells Katz to get a move on.

What Constant Reader Learns: Well, hm. Roland reacts very quickly. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet been told what he’s reacting to.


The Drawing of the Three — “Roland Takes His Medicine,” Section 16

The curved security mirror in the corner of the store is something Roland had been admiring — it was beyond the abilities of any craftsmen in his world, at least as it was in the latter days. When Katz looked over his shoulder, Roland had looked up and seen a do-gooder with a knife headed his way, so he turned and shot from the hip using one of the cops’ guns, so he’d be less likely to injure an innocent bystander.

Again, Roland aims for the weapon and not the one wielding it, shooting the knife from the guy’s hand. The do-gooder suddenly remembers a pressing appointment and runs. Roland turns back to Katz and tells him to have his assistant (apprentice) get the Keflex.

Roland spent all Jack Mort’s cash on bullets, so he offers up the man’s Rolex to pay for the Keflex. Mr. Katz hefts it, and realizes it’s a $6,500 gold watch being used to pay for $60 worth of antibiotics. Katz thinks his luck has just turned around.

What Constant Reader Learns: Again, Roland is astonished when he learns there are 200 pills in the bottle of Keflex — he’d only taken 36 of Balazar’s pills and it had almost cured him, so he figures anything 200 can’t kill would be unkillable.

So, anyone know what a solid-gold Rolex would run these days?

That’s it for this week! Next week — same time, same place — we’ll finish The Drawing of the Three with Chapter 4, “The Drawing” and the last section, “Final Shuffle.”

1. strongdreams
Side note: Flagg, Thomas and Dennis are part of King's The Eyes of the Dragon. It's a good story but the style is a bit odd, it's written in something like the style of a Grimms' fairy tale, ostensibly for children. I don't know if King really set out to write a children's story or just to write a novel that played with the style and the tropes. Flagg, of course, has many names and shows up in many stories.
aaron thompson
2. trench
I never really thought about all the racial slurs being a way for King to show that in Roland's world race, religon and sexual preference has no real bearing. I don't think we could call it a running theme in the whole series because in Roland's world people still find many reasons to hate and kill each other. But for this book I am not suprised to find all these other racial and ethnic slurs after the previous segments of Detta unleashing horrible racial slurs at Eddie and Ro. I do agree that in survival situations those superfical issues do cease to matter.

On a side note I love that Roland's last revelation concerning our world is that there was no wonder in our world becase it has all become so common place. I think that is a bit of commentary from King that still holds just as true today as it did when he wrote it.

and its always cool when the "Walking Dude" gets a nod in the Dark Tower series, there have been a few others before this to that you missed.
Suzanne Johnson
3. SuzanneJohnson
@strongdreams...A couple of folks have mentioned The Eyes of the Dragon here. I really do need to read it. I just thought it was interesting that Roland had encountered Flagg in his Randall Flag guise and thought him a demon or something akin to one.
Suzanne Johnson
4. SuzanneJohnson
@trench. I missed something? LOL. I'm looking ahead to finishing the series and then re-reading it so I can really see what kind of clues and references I didn't catch. I'm sure they are legion.

I also thought Roland's wise observation about the loss of wonder in our world was a bit of commentary from SK...and is even more true today. When you think what wonders Roland might see in an iPad...
5. Lsana
That bit about Alain always intrigued me. After I read that, I spent the next several weeks wondering about how that might have come about. Why had Roland killed his "sworn brother"? I think I must have invented about six variants on how it happened, and I ended up being somewhat disappointed with the truth.

A side note: the excess of ethnic and homophobic slurs in a work drives me nuts (right now, I'm reading the Black Dahlia, and am on the verge of throwing it across the room). I'm okay with a couple to remind us that the world wasn't always tolerant as it is now, but once it gets past a certain point, it feels like the author is just interested in asserting his superiority over his characters.


I believe Eyes of the Dragon was intentionally written in the style of a children's story. One of the most important female characters, Naomi, has the same name as King's daughter, and I think the story was written for her.

The encounter between Roland and Thomas and Dennis has not appeared in anything I've read (the books and short story published thus far, but not the comics), and I'm not sure whether to be disappointed by that or not. On one hand, I love the Dark Tower and I love Eyes of the Dragon and I would like to see the crossover. On the other, I kind of like imagining for myself what it would have been like, and seeing King's truth would ruin that. See above.
6. strongdreams
Thanks, did not know that about Naomi (although in EoD, Naomi smokes cigars. What's up with that?)

I also would prefer not to have King dramatize every little side detail. The fact that Roland crossed paths with Thomas and Dennis chasing Flagg is one of those. In fact, I think that King's idea of who Flagg was in the Dark Tower stories changed significantly sometime after writing Drawing. If you compare the original and revised Gunslinger, it seems pretty clear where Flagg was meant to fit into the story at the time Drawing was written. King changed his conception pretty significantly, and as a result, the idea that Roland met Flagg, Thomas and Dennis many years earlier no longer makes much sense, and dramatizing it (in one of the graphic novels or a new book) would only make the disconnect worse.

Likewise, I think Roland was a much nastier guy in the first version of Gunslinger, and I suspect King had something much more interesting in mind for Alain's end than what he later wrote (or approved) for the graphic novel.
7. Improbable Joe
Something odd happened when I was reading this bit, where my brain fell through a thinny. I read Terminator and I thought "Lance Henriksen"... but that's not right, he wasn't a cyborg in Terminator, he was an android in Aliens. But then I thought about it, remembered that the Terminator role was written for Henriksen originally, and now I think that in this weird too-racial version of NYC maybe Schwarzenshnitzel broke his leg and had to give it a pass? Anyways... this version of the city feels like as much of a weird movie-based collection of racial attitudes and stereotypes as Detta Walker is some weird fake stereotype. I'm not really sure what King was thinking exactly.
Suzanne Johnson
8. SuzanneJohnson
I too have wondered about the events that bring about Alain's death, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I'm still wondering if I would have been better off digging up an original version of The Gunslinger rather than the revised, since the changes appear to have been significant.
Roland of Gilead
9. pKp
Randall Flagg is probably one of my favourite King characters. The sections written in his PoV in The Stand were awesome, he's really the best example of King's favourite brand of villain (the evil/crazy/funny ones, see also It's Pennywise and that guy from The Dead Zone).

And yeah, it really made my day to see an Eyes of the Dragon reference here. Although this version of Flagg is much more along the lines of the classic "evil wizard" trope, down to the Evil Black Spider-thing familiar. I won't spoil, but there's a scene in Eyes where Flagg climbs some stairs (makes sense in context, I swear) that's one of the most gripping sequence King's ever written.
Jack Flynn
10. JackofMidworld
@strongdreams - I have to disagree with the dramatic side-bits. For me, it's a way to tie together all of the books; there's another book (that I won't name, for fear of spoilers) but when the hero finds the villain's lair, there's a shoe there that belongs to a certain little boy named Gage. It's the little details like that that, to me, make the stories and novels part of a larger tapestry, a whole world, not just a collection of unrelated tales.
Roland of Gilead
11. pKp
@10 : completely agree. Love the whole "everything is connected" vibe you get once you've read a few King novels...and thematically, it works really well with the underlying themes of Ka and such (that I won't elaborate on because we're not there yet).
Roland of Gilead
12. pKp
Re: racial slurs'n'such : I agree it's really off-putting. That being said, two NY cops cracking gay jokes doesn't sound implausible to me, and neither does Jack Mort using racial slurs. Especially in what's supposed to be the 90s (80s ?), where this kind of thing was less frowned upon. I think it's really just a way to add "local color"...not the best, not very subtle or sensitive, but I think that's all there is to it, alas.
For a popular writer, I think King is rather sensitive to race/gender issues, but sometimes he can be a little iffy, and I guess this is one of these times. He makes up for it with characters like Mike Hanlon, Susanna or Adrian Mellon, I suppose.
13. GregSBK
I simply devoured this when I read it a few years ago. Makes me want to go read it again! And yes, I agree that the whole 'connectedness' of a number of SK's books works for me. Of course he does take this a bit far in the his later books...

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14. Lsana

This is supposed to be the 70s, actually. I guess I don't remember the 80s clearly enough to be sure, but there was no faster way to label yourself a villain in the 90s than to go around using racial slurs. Which kind of proves my point actually. I think there is a tendency to be somewhat condesending to the past and show off our own superiority by constantly reminding people how awful things were in the "bad old days." Call it the reverse of "rose-colored glasses."

Do I believe that there was a lot more racism and homophobia in the 70s than there is now? Of course. But I'm less inclined to believe that everyone was so obsessed with it that you can't go three pages without running into more slurs.
Suzanne Johnson
15. SuzanneJohnson
I like all the "connections" as well. It's been so long since I read a lot of the books I'm sure I'm missing a lot--so I'm glad you guys are pointing them out. It and The Stand are still my favorite SK books, and Randall Flagg/Pennywise the most interesting "bad guys." (But Full Dark, No Stars and 11/22/63 are still on my TBR pile right now. )
Jim Geygan
16. SpazPuppies
Sorry I don't have any deep meaningful insights to share at this point of the story. However I would like to ask if this guy ( ) popped into anyone else's mind when Fot Johnny Holden was introduced...
Suzanne Johnson
17. SuzanneJohnson
@Lsana...I agree, which is why I think SK uses the racial and ethnic slurs intentionally, and as more than local color. It's just too prevalent in this book to be incidental. Whether it's used to show another way that the world has moved on, or to set up a continuity between Odetta's time in the early 1960s and Jack Mort's 1970s....I don't know.
Brandon Daggerhart
18. BDaggerhart
Argh, you stopped! I was hoping we'd be knocking out this section this week. :)

Love, love, love this chapter.
Roland of Gilead
19. pKp
@14: well, I wasn't actually alive in the 70s or 80s (well, barely), so I'll take you at your word :). Still...maybe it's different in the States, but where I'm from, I have no trouble imagining cops using homophobic/racist slurs, even now. Doesn't seem so far-fetched to me.

I've reread the chapter (got it right here by the keyboard, actually). The "mocksie" thing could just be another way of showing us how Ro doesn't get how the world works. The cop's gay slurs I find to be rather in character...might just be my bad experiences with cops. And the whole exchange between the old lady and the chemist has the word "fag" one time (screamed by a Valium addict going through withdrawal), and that's it. Don't know...maybe it's white privilege, but I don't see racism (in a broad sense) here, not even as a theme.

EDIT: based on a cursory websearch, Rolex gold watches seem to run between 20 and 30 thousand dollars.
Suzanne Johnson
20. SuzanneJohnson
@TankSpill...LOL. I knock out the rest of the book next Monday. Still reeling from that last chapter!
Eigor Maldonado
21. e-mann
I loved your made up word "Rojack" for Roland in Jack's head, does this mean that when Roland was in Eddie's head he was "Rodie"?

As for the "everything is connected" theme, after reading this whole seires, I wondered if this "DARK TOWER" is the center, and most of King's storys fan out like a spider web from it. Very metaphysical and philosophical; I think my brain is about to explode!
Suzanne Johnson
22. SuzanneJohnson
@e-mann...Ha. "Rodie" or "Roddie," I guess.

Actually, I think from what I've read, Stephen King considers the Dark Tower the center of his multiverse, with all the other works spiraling out from it. Other commenters are probably more knowledgeable about that, but it is kind of mind-numbing!
aaron thompson
23. trench
@21 and when he was in Detta he was ROdetta :)

also I know SK said that not all of his books are tied into this but most of them are. So I think your Spider Web analogy is correct. There is a bunch more I could say on this topic but I would be verging into spoiler territory.
25. Kadere
The comments about wishing we'd met Randall Flagg are especially hilarious. I guess you have to keep reading. Rereads will have you banging your head.
Risha Jorgensen
26. RishaBree
This section is actually quite firmly planted in the timeline. It's early May, 1977, sometime before the 9th.

Prejudice may be more or less obvious according to current social mores and the company you keep, but unfortunately, never actually goes out of style.

You have me racking my brains, but I can't find any useful parallels or contrasts that King is setting up with all of the slurs. Roland himself doesn't seem to hold any significant prejudices, but his world is far from a paradise. King has a habit of creating throwaway characters with significant flaws to humanize them, and often succeeds in making them annoying and/or repulsive. In fact, most of his throwaway characters end up that way. I think this is just more of the same, just lots of them in a short section and King feeling repetitive.
27. TrickyFreak
Oh my gods. I'm in for a cliffhanger. Haha. Flagg! Eyes of the Darkness! Love the interconnectedness. That is the more major Theme, and not the general bigotry, which I think is only the theme for this book.

So now I have to wait for Monday posts like everyone else.

My favorite book is perhaps the upcoming third. [i]
28. jocyeman
Mockie must have been a pretty prevelant slur around King growing up, he has used it in a number of his older books. The other instance I remember best was in IT, Stan Uris' wife was called a mockie sheenie (another word I never heard of before King) at her prom.

For my part I dont think the slur drop in this chapter is Madmenesque laughing at our cavemen ancestors. I find it genuine for the time period and for the characters.
craig thrift
29. gagecreedlives
I think with all the racist slurs being thrown its ka helping Roland understand Odetta/Detta a little bit better even if its just on a subconscious level.

When Roland entered Eddie everything around seems to involve consumption and drugs. Obviously Eddie himself is an addict and smuggling cocaine and Rolands need for medicine but you also have the stewardess smoking and arming herself with hot caffeine, Eddie going through withdrawal and Ro’s got the shaking hands, the co-pilot doesn’t mind a snort every now and again, customs agents all getting their nicotine fix on, Rolands reaction to toota fish sandwiches and sugar, being followed by a pizza van, meetings in a bar, Johnny Cash and Im sure there are plenty more examples but you get the drift.

Now we have got a world/time where the theme seems to be all about the hate/fear/loathing (Las Vegas) of the outsider (pretty common in a lot of Kings work). Everyone is a little uneasy about Mort, Roland is obviously an outsider and you have the racial/homophobic slurs plus a good Samaritan literally about to stab Roland in the back. But almost all of these get subverted, the taxi drivers a wasp, Rojack doesn’t sound fruity, the serial killer literally has the hero inside of him, hell even Big Arnie was an outsider that became an unlikely success story

Put me down as another that doesn’t need all the little side details of Kings easter eggs fleshed out. I really do enjoy coming across names and references from other books but I don’t really need full crossovers. Although a 3 way brawl between Gaunt VS Flagg VS Pennywise is not without its charms :)


You ‘d think they would of given it back by now
Jack Flynn
30. JackofMidworld
Yeah, I think I'd pay money to see Gaunt vs Flagg vs Pennywise. On second thought, I know I would!
Suzanne Johnson
31. SuzanneJohnson
@gagecreedlives...That is actually...brilliant. Hadn't thought about the "theme" of consumption in the Eddie section--I guess the bigotry theme was more in-your-face. Going to have to ponder these deep things some more...
32. Jenny C.
Just Randall Flagg vs Pennywise would be the clash of the titans of the century I think. One is a demon who blights the earth where he walks, the other is an extraterrestrial monster who, um, sours the earth where it rests. I guess they're kind of evenly matched.

I thought about Roland recognizing the cops as the soft, barely trained quasi-gunslingers they are at the merest glance. It's probably very obvious to him if anyone's wearing a gun, from posture and body language and such, and it's not a big stretch to imagine he can tell how practiced or comfortable they are with those guns. But he even recognizes their intent to uphold the law without any prior understanding of police force as it applies to our world, and that's a little weird. Some special gunslinger sense maybe?

Also, re. the many comments about our world being boring, I think you're missing that Roland does see many a wondrous thing. It's not that there are no wonders left, we're just blind to them. We can try to see things as Roland does, and see beauty everywhere. Okay, I watched American beauty yesterday so it might be obvious where I'm coming from, but the movie makes a good point I think.

Look closer. . .
Suzanne Johnson
33. SuzanneJohnson
@Jenny...I agree. I didn't mean our world was boring, only that we're so jaded we might see it that way, whereas Roland, seeing it with fresh eyes, can see the amazing things we have and take for granted.

Roland has recognized Eddie and O/Detta/Susannah as gunslingers as well, so it must be a gunslinger sixth-sense he has from his long life.
34. Jenny C.
Well, what Roland recognizes in his companions is the potential killing instincts, quick learning abilities and general excellence that makes it physically possible for them to become capable gunslingers, also interesting but not exactly what I was thinking of. He looks at the cops and sees their desire to uphold the law, serve the public trust, etc., as definitely as if he was playing Dungeons and Dragons and casting Detect Alignment. (Also as if they were definitely Lawful Good like a couple of Dungeons and Dragons characters.)
Suzanne Johnson
35. SuzanneJohnson
@Jenny...Right, or in non-gamer terms, from one who has honest-to-God never played any form of D&D, he recognizes the content of their character :-)

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