The title of the this essay, one that has gone on longer than intended when I first decided to write this, One Last Visit With an Old Friend - probably should have been plural - friends - as that's what I consider the KA-TET I have been following behind for so long now. The story is still getting deeper and more complicated, the back story is still unfolding, and KA-SHUME - the sensing of an approaching break in one's Ka-tet - has set in.
A few hours after The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower arrived on the bookshelves I had a copy of it in my hands. KA-SHUME was about to begin and had already begun.
Cryptic but true, this story had been breaking for some time now and this book, for good or ill, will be the end. That is the real fear here. Being so wrapped up in these characters and knowing that they were relatively "safe" until this book, this book where there are no more guarantees. One has already fallen - sacrificing their life so the others can proceed toward the Dark Tower. I am approaching a point where KA-SHUME is possibly happening again and it make me afraid to read. But I cannot help myself, I MUST.
I stopped reading on page 361 to type this before I break palaver and drive home. 19 squared. KA.
I am starting to see the clearing up ahead, only 484 pages left. KA-SHUME will be throughout the rest of this read until the final breaking of the KA-TET when I close this last, final book. I do, however, have a few books loosely relating to the Dark Tower I still have to read.
So I take this last visit with my old friend, Roland and his (my) KA-TET and hope the read is a good long one. Even though I never made it past KA-TEL, I will always look to Roland as the DINH of the KA-TET.
It will be hard saying goodbye to this fantasy world that has inhabited my subconscious for over have of my life.
Roland is twirling his finger, letting me know I have gone on long enough. Onward to The Tower...
One Last Visit With an Old Friend
Part 3(of 4)
After Finishing Wizard and Glass I knew, from past experience, that it would probably be at least 2 years before the next book would appear. I was right on the mark with this one as about a year and a half later I read on StephenKing.com that the next installment, The Wolves of the Calla, would be coming out soon.
I also read that six months after Wolves that the next book The Song of Susannah would appear and six months after that, the final installment, The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower would be published. I was excited and saddened at the same time because this was my first glimpse of the end. But that was still 1.5 years away.
I picked up Wolves of the Calla on the day it came out and was once again walking on The Path of the Beam which seemed to be starting to fail. This was a bit hard to start with the dialogue in the first few chapters tough to follow. Soon though I was hard pressed to get out of the story, which got compounded near the end with all kinds of tie-ins to previous King material and even King himself! (The tie-ins had been happening over a gentle tone since a few books previous, but in this novel it moved from subtle to, OK here they are, relish in them - starting with the return of Father (Pere) Callahan from 'Salem's Lot!)
So I turned the last page of Wolves knowing that in only 6 months the next novel would be out and I soon would be reunited again with my AN-TET.
KA-MAI / CHAR
Song of Susannah, the penultimate novel in the Dark Tower series, was released in the spring of this year. Picking up right where the last one left off - Susannah(MIA)[KA-MAI] had gone to New York of 1988 to have her "Chap" [CHAR]; Roland, Eddie, Jake, and OY, after beating the "Wolves" have realized Susannah is missing and are formulating a plan to hopefully find her before her (demon?) "Chap" is born. All of this while still trying to move towards the Dark Tower.
From start to finish, I read through this book with true alacrity, not so much an wanting to know what was happening, but having to know. Whenever free time allowed, I was reading this surprisingly smaller novel (by Stephen King standards) than the last few.
By the end of the book a whole lot and a whole little had happened all at the same time. A whole lot with Roland (and Stephen King of 1977), Eddie, and Susannah (in New York of 1988) and a whole little with Pere Callahan, Jake, and OY (Jake's pet Billy-Bumbler). But the small part WITH Pere Callahan and Jake was crucial for the set up of the 7th and final novel.
Callahan and Jake (not to forget OY!) had tracked down the last place Susannah had been taken to in New York of 1988 and were getting ready to enter this location (Dixie Pig) knowing they were outnumbered by many monsters that habituated both in our world and that of Mid-World. The novel ended with Callahan about to face off with Type One Vampires (like the one from 'Salem's Lot), Jake about to face off with everything else (all to save Susannah), Roland and Eddie trying to get to New York of 1988 (from Maine of 1977) after one last problem concerning the Rose in the Vacant Lot (New York) was dealt with, and Susannah / MIA[KA-MAI] in the final stages of labor with their "chap" [CHAR].
An ending for the record book was placed in the Writer's Journal, but again, it would only be for six months.