I just finished reading the Dark Tower series, and that must qualify me to post on this forum. When I read a life-changing work of fiction I like to write a letter to the author. In this case, I discovered Stephen King stopped reading fan mail before I was even born! so I'm posting my letter here:
I have just finished your Dark Tower series. I'm not a fan of metafiction, but I see your point, see you very well. I understand how you were bound up in Roland's ka, will you or nil you, and it is my own experience that the storyteller casts her light this way and that, describing what she finds illuminated there, and the people thus revealed take on life in proportion to their own unanticipated actions. You never went so far off the deep end that I wasn't willing to swim out there with you.
And the reward was stellar. I laughed and I cried when Susanna was reunited with Eddie and Jake, I despaired with Roland at the last door of the Tower, finding you a jealous god, and I came to peace with the voices and that final proof of compassion and progress, the horn. I see why Roland was such a fearsome character to you, a man of rigid steel. I am reminded of Neil Gaiman's Sandman, who learns that a man must either change or die, and finds himself ultimately unable or unwilling to change. But you have given Roland another chance, the potential for change if he will choose it, and an end in sight to his fearsome quest. Too, I remember speculating early on in the series that when Roland finished his quest and stood in the room at the top of the Tower "then things would really get weird" in a multiple-reflections, Never-ending Story kind of way, but the actual ending was infinitely more satisfying than that. Roland is right back at the beginning, which is exactly right, because I know that, as long as the series stretches, and as arduous the trek, I would gladly join Roland and his ka-tet for another turn on the Beam, and maybe this time his heart will soften a little more, I will find more poignancy in each scene, having seen the whole, and find redemption in the journeying itself, that emotional rollercoaster ride. It was gracefully done.
I'm putting the Dark Tower on the shelf with the Lord of the Rings, to be read leisurely throughout a long summer of sun when I hunker down under my favorite tree with the best companions in the world and an apple or two.
Say thankya, truly, for showing me the way. This was something I needed to see. I only hope I can live up to the challenge of this wonderful story.