Covert Coot: What is The Dark Tower?

You may or may not know, but Sony Pictures are finally bringing an adaptation of The Dark Tower to our screens with a scheduled release of February 2017. Those familiar with the series will know that the project has been bounced around studios for well over a decade, with the only reliable information that Ron Howard was set to direct. With the film slowly coming together and the promotional campaign kicking off – I guess you can say that for long term fans, it’s been a long time coming.

Entertainment Weekly's Comic Con cover.

Entertainment Weekly’s Comic Con cover.

With the announcement of The Dark Tower movie and the casting of two terrific actors in the lead roles – Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey – the series has renewed interest with existing fans rereading the books and analysing every little update on the film, but also introducing new fans to one of the most popular series in fiction.

What is The Dark Tower?

I suppose this is the big question for newcomers to the series and I will do my best to sell the series to you spoiler free.

The Dark Tower is an epic fantasy/scifi/horror series written by Stephen King. The series consists of eight books and over 4000 pages of material, furthermore The Dark Tower has a number of ties to other works by King (I’ll expand on this in next week’s post). The story features Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger who is on a quest of epic proportions to reach the Dark Tower – the quest, as well as other elements of the series were heavily influenced by Lord of the Rings and spaghetti westerns such as, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

dark-tower-books

Roland isn’t alone on the quest as he is joined by Jake Chambers, Eddie Dean, Susannah Dean and Oy.

Illustration by Michael Whelan

Illustration by Michael Whelan

Their journey takes through different worlds, but primarily takes place throughout All-World which is comprised of In-World, Mid-World and End-World. Naturally our little band of heroes come across some resistance and come face to face with mutants, vampires, werewolves and of course The Man In Black & The Crimson King – both of whom appear or are referred to in a number of King’s novels.

Illustration by Michael Whelan

Illustration by Michael Whelan

Along the way we learn more about the characters, the world and of course the Dark Tower itself, which is the glue that holds the universe together. With connections to a lot of King’s other work, the idea that the fate of the ‘Stephen King Multiverse’ rests upon the Dark Tower adds to the urgency and importance of the overall quest.

Now, I said I was going to keep this as spoiler free as possible and hopefully I’ve managed that, but I also wanted to expand on some of these points and write about the added experience of reading the comic books in The Dark Tower universe, as well as the other novels by Stephen King that add to the series. After all, I mentioned the antagonists of The Man In Black & The Crimson King appearing in other novels, but there are other characters that do so too and all in very important ways.

So come back next week for a Beginners Guide to The Dark Tower.

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