Friday, September 25, 2009

Dark Tower Wiki

I was searching for possible movie news about my favorite book series when I happened upon the wiki entry.

Thorough, and pretty good, too.



The Dark Tower (series)

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The Dark Tower
"The Dark Tower" painting by Michael Whelan
The Gunslinger (1982)
The Drawing of the Three (1987)
The Waste Lands (1991)
Wizard and Glass (1997)
Wolves of the Calla (2003)
Song of Susannah (2004)
The Dark Tower (2004)

Stephen King
Michael Whelan, Phil Hale, Ned Dameron, Dave McKean, Bernie Wrightson, Darrel Anderson
Fantasy, horror, western
Followed by
The Dark Tower (comics)
The Little Sisters of Eluria

The Dark Tower is a series of seven books written by American author Stephen King between 1970 and 2004. The series incorporates themes from multiple genres, including fantasy fiction, science fantasy, horror and western elements. They describe a gunslinger's quest toward a tower whose nature the books call both physical and metaphorical. King has described the series as his magnum opus. Besides the seven novels that compose the series proper, many of his other books relate to the story, introducing concepts and characters that come into play as the series progresses. After the series were finished, a series of comics prequels has followed.
The series was chiefly inspired by the poem "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" by Robert Browning, whose full text was included in the final volume's appendix. In the preface to the revised 2003 edition of The Gunslinger, King also identifies The Lord of the Rings, the Arthurian Legend, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly as inspirations. He identifies Clint Eastwood's "Man with No Name" character as one of the major inspirations for the protagonist, Roland Deschain. King's style of location names in the series, such as Mid-World, and his development of a unique language abstract to our own (High Speech), are also influenced by J. R. R. Tolkien's work.

[edit] Plot summary

In the story, Roland is the last living member of a knightly order known as gunslingers and the last of the line of "Arthur Eld," his world's analogue of King Arthur. The world he lives in is quite different from our own, yet it bears striking similarities to it. Politically organized along the lines of a feudal society, it shares technological and social characteristics with the American Old West but is also magical. While the magical aspects are largely gone from Mid-World, some vestiges of them remain, along with the relics of a highly advanced, but long vanished, society. Roland's quest is to find the Dark Tower, a fabled building said to be the nexus of all universes. Roland's world is said to have "moved on", and indeed it appears to be coming apart at the seams — mighty nations have been torn apart by war, entire cities and regions vanish without a trace and time does not flow in an orderly fashion. Even the Sun sometimes rises in the north and sets in the east. As the series opens, Roland's motives, goals and age are unclear, though later installments shed light on these mysteries.
For a detailed synopsis of the novels, see the relevant article for each book.

[edit] Characters

Along his journey to the Dark Tower, Roland meets a great number of both friends and enemies. For most of the way he is accompanied by a group of people who together with him form the Ka-tet of the Nineteen and Ninety-nine, consisting of Jake Chambers, Eddie and Susannah Dean, and Oy. Among his many enemies on the way are The Dark Man and The Crimson King.

[edit] Places

[edit] Language

King created a language for his characters, known as the High Speech. Examples of this language include the phrases Thankee, Sai ("Thank you, Sir/Ma'am.") and Dan-Tete ("Little Savior"). In addition King uses the term 'Ka' which is the approximate equivalent of destiny, or fate, in the fictional language High Speech (and similarly, 'Ka-tet,' a group of people bound together by fate/destiny). This term originated in Egyptian mythology and storytelling and has figured in several other novels and screenplays since 1976.

[edit] Series

  1. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger (1982)
  2. The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three (1987)
  3. The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands (1991)
  4. The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass (1997) - Locus Award nominee, 1998[1]
  5. The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla (2003) - Locus Award nominee, 2004[2]
  6. The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah (2004) - Locus Award nominee, 2005[3]
  7. The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower (2004) - British Fantasy Award winner, 2005[3]

[edit] Illustrations

Each book in the series was originally published in hardcover format with a number of full-color illustrations spread throughout. Each book contained works by a single illustrator only. Subsequent printings of each book in trade paperback format usually preserve the illustrations in full, except for books I and IV. Pocket-sized paperback reprints contain only black-and-white chapter or section header illustrations.The illustrators who worked on each book are:
  1. Michael Whelan, multiple award-winning science fiction and fantasy painter. The Dark Tower is among his early notable works.
  2. Phil Hale, the only Dark Tower illustrator who created a second set of illustrations for a later printing of the book he illustrated.
  3. Ned Dameron.
  4. Dave McKean, graphic designer noted for working in many media, including photography and film. The only Dark Tower illustrator to work in photocollages.
  5. Bernie Wrightson, established illustrator for 1960s and 1970s horror comics.
  6. Darrel Anderson, the only Dark Tower illustrator who used digital illustration techniques.
  7. Michael Whelan, returning more than 20 years later as the only recurring Dark Tower illustrator.

[edit] Reception

The Washington Post's Bill Sheehan called the series "a humane, visionary epic and a true magnum opus" that stands as an "imposing example of pure storytelling," "filled with brilliantly rendered set pieces... cataclysmic encounters and moments of desolating tragedy."[4] The Boston Globe's Erica Noonan said "there's a fascinating world to be discovered in the series" but noted that its epic nature keeps it from being user-friendly.[5] The New York Times' Michael Agger was disappointed with how the series progressed; while he marveled at the "sheer absurdity of [the books'] existence" and complimented King's writing style, he said preparation would have improved the series, stating "King doesn't have the writerly finesse for these sorts of games, and the voices let him down."[6] The San Francisco Chronicle's Michael Berry, however, called the series' early installments "highfalutin hodgepodge" but the ending "a valediction" that "more than delivers on what has been promised."[7]

[edit] Other media

[edit] Tie-in books

The series has prompted related non-fiction books by authors besides King. Robin Furth has published the two-volume Stephen King's The Dark Tower: A Concordance, an encyclopedia-style companion to the series that she originally wrote for King's personal use. Bev Vincent has published The Road to The Dark Tower: Exploring Stephen King's Magnum Opus, a book containing back story, summary and analysis. Stephen King has endorsed both books.

[edit] Prequel comic series

A prequel to the Dark Tower series, set around the time of the flashbacks in The Gunslinger and Wizard and Glass, has been released by Marvel Comics. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born is plotted by Robin Furth, scripted by Peter David, and illustrated by Jae Lee and Richard Isanove. The project is overseen by King. The first issue of this first arc was released on February 7, 2007. A hardcover volume containing all 7 issues was released on November 7, 2007.
The second arc in the Dark Tower comic series was released by Marvel Comics, and it is called The Long Road Home. The first issue was published on March 5, 2008. A hardcover volume containing all 5 issues was released on October 15, 2008.
The third arc in the Dark Tower comic series was released by Marvel Comics, and it is called The Dark Tower: Treachery. The first issue of the six issue arc was published on September 10, 2008.
Following the completion of the third arc a one-shot issue titled The Dark Tower: Sorcerer was released April 8, 2009. The story focuses on the history of the villainous wizard Marten Broadcloak.
Marvel Comics has also published three supplemental books to date that expand upon characters and locations first introduced in the novels. The Dark Tower: Gunslingers' Guidebook was released in 2007, The Dark Tower: End-World Almanac was released in 2008, and The Dark Tower: Guide to Gilead was released in 2009. All three books were written by Anthony Flamini, with Furth serving as creative consultant. End-World Almanac and Guide to Gilead feature illustrations by David Yardin.

[edit] Film adaptation

IGN Movies has reported that a film adaptation is in the works; whether it is for a movie or a television series is unknown. J. J. Abrams, co-creator of the television show Lost, is supposedly attached to produce and direct.[8] Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, who co-created the show Lost with J. J. Abrams, have optioned the Dark Tower series from King for a reported nineteen dollars, a number that mysteriously recurs throughout the Dark Tower series of novels.[9] According to issue #923 of Entertainment Weekly, King "is an ardent supporter of the desert-island show and trusts Abrams to translate his vision" into a film franchise with Lindelof being "the leading candidate to write the screenplay for the first installment."[10] In a July 2009 interview with C21 Media, Lindelof revealed that he and Cuse had indeed optioned The Dark Tower's rights, but said he was wary about committing to such an ambitious project: "The idea of taking on something that massive again after having done six seasons of Lost is intimidating and slightly frightening, to say the least." [11]
King also reported that he had turned down long-time collaborator Frank Darabont, creator of such films as The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption, after he had asked to do the film.

Roland as depicted in the opening credits of another Stephen King movie, The Mist.

Multiple mock trailers have appeared on YouTube. Also, the official Grand Prize winner of Simon & Schuster's (King's Publisher) American Gunslinger contest,[12] "Roland Meets Brown",[13] by Robert David Cochrane,[14] can be found there.
In King's 2007 film The Mist, the main character, David Drayton, can be seen painting a movie poster with Roland in the center, standing in front of a trans-dimensional Ghostwood door, with a rose and the dark tower to each side.
In April 2009, both Abrams and Lindelof revealed that they would most likely begin adapting the series when Lost concludes in 2010.[15]
In May 2009, rumours emerged that Christian Bale was the top contender to play Roland.[16]

[edit] Connections to King's other works

The series has become a linchpin that ties a lot of King's work together. The worlds of The Dark Tower are in part composed of locations, characters, events and other various elements from many of King's novels and short stories.

[edit] Intertextual references

As with most of Stephen King's novels many elements of real life popular culture are mentioned in each of the Dark Tower novels including other books, poetry, songs, and movies. These works may be mentioned in passing or often as important plot devices.
Included here is a list of such references. All works mentioned below occur within the books' narrative and do not include any mentioned in the foreword or afterword of the books:

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