This is a follow up to my last post on Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. I just finished the latest installment of said series, entitled Song of Susannah. In some ways I’m not very happy with it, but I’m willing to give King the benefit of the doubt. I still don’t expect to like the ending, and King seems to be dropping hints all over the place indicating that my fears are well founded. I referenced one in my last post, but there were others in this book, such as this one in which Roland talks to a “fictional” Stephen King who is afraid he won’t finish the story:
“I know, but we’ll try–”
“It’s not that. I’m afraid of not being able to finish.” His voice lowered. “I’m afraid the Tower will fall and I’ll be held to blame.”
“That is up to ka, not you,” Roland said, “Or me.”
I didn’t much like the idea of King writing himself into the story, but the way he did so was agreeable enough (I don’t like that he did it at all, but considering that he did, it could have been worse). In any case, it’s stuff like that excerpt that make me think King is trying to lower expectations. What’s more, he’s blaming it on ka (for the uninitiated, ka is roughly translated as “destiny” though there is more to it than that)! He’s done this before too – in my last post I referenced the cliffhanger ending of the third Dark Tower novel, The Waste Lands. He claimed that the ending just felt right, that “the wind just stopped blowing” and that the book should end where it did. Further, he claimed that he didn’t even know how it would end. Six years later, he wrote the next book in the series and finally resolved that conflict. Such an event, if we are to take King at his word, strengthens the suspicion that he’s just making this up as he goes along. Naturally, I’m worried about how this is going to end.
On the bright side, Song of Susannah was a quick, fun read – a real page-turner. And I do think King could pull this thing off, but I’m very suspicious. Or perhaps I’m just subconsciously trying to set the standards low so I won’t be disappointed in the series when it ends (a la my post on expectations and The Village).