Notes from the scarlet fields of Can’-Ka No Rey

In a previous post I mentioned that the end was near for the Dark Tower series from Stephen King. It came out on 9/21 and I finished reading it this past Tuesday morning 9/28. A little bit slower then I thought, but its a big book coming in at 845 pages. It probably should have been two books. I’ve been meaning to post about it all week, but I wanted to reflect on it before I did. I also don’t want to drop too many spoilers here as I know many people haven’t gotten to the book yet. (Hello to my blog follower from Finland, where its unknown when the book will be out.)

As a quick aside, I want to talk about my attachment to the series before I go on. I’ve been trying to think of a way to say how much I enjoyed the series as a whole. The only thing I can come up with is the following: I was at the book store the day the last three books where out waiting to jump back into Mid-World (and any place else the tale would take us, say true.) On average, its taken me less than 4 days to read each book. The only thing getting in the way was either work or sleep (and with the last two books, my daughter.) The only other book series I’ve done this with has been Harry Potter.

I wanted the time to reflect on the book, as my initial impressions where not the ones I know I will have long term. Part of the reason reflection was necessary was due to the fact that I was saying goodbye to at least 4 characters (maybe 5) I’ve followed for somewhere around 13 years. (I don’t remember when I read my first book from the series, but I know I was in high school, so I’m putting it in the middle of that time period.) Due to the attachment I’ve grown to these fictional characters any goodbye would be tough. In general, and I’m sure any author will tell you, endings are tough. (That’s probably why so many authors suck at endings, but that’s a different post.)

The other factor is what I’ll call The Matrix Revolutions Factor. After The Matrix Reloaded I had all sorts of ideas of where the story should go and what would be interesting ends to subplots. Obviously, The Matrix Revolutions didn’t match up with what I had in mind. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but what appeared on the move screen didn’t surpass my expectations. It just met them, if not was a little lower than them. (This reminds me, I should go back and watch the movie now that some times has passed.)

**** WARNING: I can’t help but add some potential spoilers in the next few paragraphs. You have been warned! (I’ll also drop some more protection, to be nice.) ****

I think thats part of what has happened for me with the last book. Its not what I imagined. Admittedly, my imagining of where the plot would take us was less defined in the case of the Dark Tower when compared to The Matrix. The biggest ting to me is that some of the exits of some of the characters just didn’t ring true for me. They didn’t come as far as they had to stop where they had.

Also, there’s a few things that felt forced in terms of character use. Some of the really forced parts were centered around characters who were in books related to Tower series, but not part of it (until their parts of the story that is.) It seems like they had to be there because they were mentioned before, not because they served the story as fully as they could have.

King even admits to not being as good as he wanted it to be in the Author’s Note when he said “I never worked harder on a project in my life, and I know — none better, alas — that it has not been entirely successful.”

Overall I enjoyed it. If I had to read the book over again, I’d stop in the first section of the Coda where Stephen King asks us to stop. I should have heeded his warning, but I am one of what he called “the grim, goal-oriented ones who will not believe that the joy is in the journey rather than the destination no matter how many times it has been proven to you.” If you haven’t read it yet, and you’ve read these minor spoilers, I beg ya, think seriously when you read that phrase. I think I passed it too quickly, even given my 4 minute break at that point. I would have been more satisfied had I followed his warning. I, however, am tormented with a need to know “what happens next.”

In a year or two, I’ll read the books again. I’ve read them each time a new one was about to come out, except for book 7, since I read 1-6 just three months ago. I’m sure on my rereading of book 7, when I’m not racing, I’ll appriciate better some things I glossed over when the race to see how it ends was on.

Thankee, Sai King. Long days and pleasant nights. Thanks for giving me a journey to go on through time and space with characters I came to care about. If I felt nothing about the ending, you would have failed. I feel something, so you’ve done your job. Again, I say Thankee-sai.

5 thoughts on “Notes from the scarlet fields of Can’-Ka No Rey”

  1. *keeping eyes closed* Oh good, this went straight to the comment section 🙂 Hello backatcha!
    I bought DT7 yesterday (hurray!). I’m not able to read it as fast as you though, cause I’m tackling a Hannibal omnibus on the bus/train/tram and at the University (600 pp to go); and that’s a big portion of my days (well, I finished DT6 at 4:40 am…).
    I wouldn’t carry a DT with me in the backpack cause it could get hurt (a scratch on the cover or a raindrop on the pages…. eeeh!). I’m trying to read it ASAP so I can read the rest of your post 😀 Ta ta!

  2. Yeah… me again. Sorry for this comment flood. But, I’ve been wondering, what kind of a book (DT7, obv.) have you got cause mine’s only 686 pp. I have a hardback by Hodder&Stoughton (UK company). Hope I’m not missing pages 😀 It does have Author’s Note at the end and includes the signing-off (Stephen King, Maine blablabla or something like that)…

  3. The book was the same physical dimensions (except for width) and font as the last two in full hard cover. Its a US printing company. I don’t happen to have it with me, so I can’t say for sure. Cribbing the info from Amazon:

    # Hardcover: 864 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 2.33 x 9.04 x 6.40
    # Publisher: Donald M. Grant/Scribner; (September 21, 2004)

  4. My Wolves of the Calla is a Grant version.
    This is interesting. I wonder what extra there is compared to the book I have… and also, I’m looking at the info on a Grant version of DT7 sold here, it’s 768 pp 😀 Ah, my little head goes all *ping* Oh well, as long as all the pages with the story are there. I’ll stop babbling now.

  5. My best hope is that this somehow gets posted. I don’t know you, sir. Or Minna, whoever they may be. But I love you both. I’ve had long days and pleasant nights since I discovered Mid World, but I have been alone in my wonder. I am glad to know you, and hope that,though we probably have NO other connections, you will share khef with me. Someday, when I stand at the foot of the Tower, after crossing that terrible field of Roses, I’ll sing your names. Say thankya. Say thankya big big.

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