The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower (Sep 2004)

At the outset of the final installment of our saga, Roland’s ka-tet is scattered across several different wheres and whens. Susannah Dean (still in the clutches of the demon Mia) is in End-World’s Fedic Dogan: a chamber of horrors where magic and technology can be merged and where a monstrous half-human child can be brought forth into the world. Eddie Dean and Roland Deschain are in Maine, 1977, searching for the site of otherworldly walk-in activity, and a possible doorway back to Mid-World. Jake Chambers, Father Callahan, and the bumbler Oy are battling vampires and low men in New York’s Dixie Pig Restaurant, circa 1999, a place where long pig is definitely on the menu. As soon as our tet reunites, they must journey to the headquarters of Thunderclap’s Wolves in order to discover exactly why the Crimson King’s minions have been culling the brains of young children for twin-telepathy enzymes. The answer is more horrible than they realized, and bears directly upon Roland’s quest to reach the Dark Tower.

Common King themes:

  • Twinners (It's hinted that Pere Callahan and Ted Brautigan may be twinners.)
  • June 19, 1999 (The day Jake and Stephen King save Stephen King's life.)
  • Red Sox Fans (As he makes the final turn, Eddie sees John Cullum waiting for them, wearing a Red Sox cap and smoking a pipe.)

The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower has connections to the following books:

Part 1 / Chapter I / Section 7 : Pennywise

The sköldpadda tumbled to the red rug, bounced beneath one of the tables, and there (like a certain paper boat some of you may remember) passes out of this tale forever.

Part 1 / Chapter II / Section 5 : Can-Toi

Callahan was holding Jake’s gun . . . and another thing, as well: some sort of carving. Roland was almost sure it was a can-tah, one of the little gods.

Part 1 / Chapter II / Section 6 : The Little Sisters of Eluria

Now clattering bugs came pouring out from under the table. They were of a sort Roland had seen before, and any doubts he might still have held about what was behind that tapestry departed at the sight of them. They were parasites, blood-drinkers, camp-followers: Grandfather-fleas. Probably not dangerous while there was a bumbler present, but of course when you spied the little doctors in such numbers, the Grandfathers were never far behind.

Part 1 / Chapter IV / Section 6 : Alan Freed

Susannah sees an interesting poster when she's exploring with Nigel after the birth of Mordred. Alan Freed's habit of reciting dead people is reminiscent of Susannah's uncontrollable compulsion to do the same.

Nigel turned left, into a new corridor with doors on both sides. She got him to stop long enough to try one of them, but there was nothing of particular note inside. It was an office, and long-abandoned, judging by the thick fall of dust. She was interested to see a poster of madly jitterbugging teenagers on one wall. Beneath it, in large blue letters, was this: SAY, YOU COOL CATS AND BOPPIN’ KITTIES! I ROCKED AT THE HOP WITH ALAN FREED! CLEVELAND, OHIO, OCTOBER 1954

Part 1 / Chapter IV / Section 6 : November 22, 1963

Susannah finds multiple doors through universes, including one to the JFK assassination on 11/22/63.

She opened her eyes and saw doors marked SHANGHAI/FEDIC and BOMBAY/FEDIC and one marked DALLAS (NOVEMBER 1963)/FEDIC.

Part 1 / Chapter VI / Section 2 : Sara Laughs

Cara Laughs is Stephen King's vacation home (an echo of Mike Noonan's home in Bag of Bones: Sara Laughs).

“Ayuh. But I think you boys want to palaver, and if we go up there to Cara Laughs, there won’t be no palaver; just you standin there with your jaws dropped.” Cullum threw back his head and laughed. “Me, too!” “What’s Cara Laughs?” Eddie asked. John shrugged. “A lot of folks with lakefront properties name their houses.”

Part 2 / Chapter II / Section 1 : Greg Stillson

“GMS stands for general mentation systems,” said Nigel. “There are two such systems, rational and irrational. Conscious and subconscious, as you might say. As for Greg, that would be Greg Stillson, a character in a novel I’m reading. Quite enjoyable. It’s called The Dead Zone, by Stephen King. As to why I bring him up in this context, I have no idea.”

Part 2 / Chapter III / Section 5 : Randall Flagg

One of Randall's aliases is Walter O'Dim; here we learn he's gone by yet another related name.

He’d always gone dressed in such fashion, when he could; in certain provinces to the south even of Garlan he had been known as Walter Hodji, the latter word meaning both dim and hood. But this particular lid (borrowed from a certain deserted house in the town of French Landing, Wisconsin) had done him no good at all, had it?

Part 2 / Chapter IV / Section 3 : Bobby Garfield

When Ted first sees Jake, he mistakes him for Bobby Garfield - evidence for the theory that Jake and Bobby are twinners.

“Bobby?” he said in a voice that was not much more than a whisper. “My God, is it Bobby Garfield?”

Part 2 / Chapter V / Section 3 : Dinky Earnshaw

If there was any doubt that the surname-less Dinky in The Dark Tower is our guy, he makes suspicious use of the word eventual.

The fellow with the white hair tried the door. It was locked. This seemed to please rather than upset him. “Dinky?” he said. Dinky, it seemed, was the youngest of the three. He took hold of the knob and Susannah heard a snapping sound from somewhere inside. Dinky stepped back. This time when Ted tried the door, it opened easily.

Part 2 / Chapter V / Section 6 : Ted Brautigan

Ted Stevens Brautigan was a Breaker with telepathic powers. He was a Facilitator which boosted the powers of all nearby telepaths. He was considered the most valuable Breaker because he was the only Facilitator the low men had ever recruited.

“Almost a thousand,” Dinky reiterated. “Because they were confused and lonely and they thought Jim Jones was their friend. Because—dig it—they had nothing to go back to. And it’s like that here. If the Breakers united, they could make a mental hammer that’d knock Prentiss and The Weasel and the taheen and the can-toi all the way into the next galaxy. Instead there’s no one but me, Stanley, and everyone’s favorite super-breaker, the totally eventual Mr. Theodore Brautigan of Milford, Connecticut. Harvard Class of ’20, Drama Society, Debate Club, editor of The Crimson, and—of course!—Phi Beta Crapper.”

Part 2 / Chapter V / Section 6 : Carrie White

Dinky turned on him with his fists clenched and a tight, furious smile on his face. Oy immediately stepped in front of Jake, growling low and showing his teeth. Dinky either didn’t notice or paid no attention. “Yeah? Well guess what, kiddo? I take offense. I take offense like a motherfucker. What do you know about what it’s like to spend your whole life on the outside, to be the butt of the joke every time, to always be Carrie at the fuckin prom?”

Part 3 / Chapter II / Section 7 : Cujo

The movie Cujo is brought up by character Bryan Smith, who mentions the title to the Stephen King character as they wait for an ambulance to arrive. Their conversation may also suggest a minor connection to Jake, who died in the book (The Gunslinger) but also somehow lived.

“You know who I am.” “God yeah!” Bryan Smith said, and chuckled. He took a bite of the candy bar and talked through it. “Reckonized you right away. I seen all your movies. My favorite was the one about the Saint Bernard. What was that dog’s name?” “Cujo,” King said. This was a word Roland knew, one Susan Delgado had sometimes used when they were alone together. In Mejis, cujo meant “sweet one.” “Yeah! That was great! Scary as hell! I’m glad that little boy lived!” “In the book he died.” Then King closed his eyes and lay back, waiting. Smith took another bite, a humongous one this time. “I liked the show they made about the clown, too! Very cool!”

Part 3 / Chapter II / Section 7 : Pennywise

Bryan Smith is a fan of the IT miniseries, and tells Stephen King so.

Smith took another bite, a humongous one this time. “I liked the show they made about the clown, too! Very cool!”

Part 3 / Chapter III / Section 11 : Patrick Danville

Nancy gifts Roland Insomnia, by Stephen King, and warns him that Patrick Danville may have an impact on his quest.

Nancy said, “In the story, the Crimson King is using Ed Deepneau to kill one single child, a boy named Patrick Danville. Just before the attack, while Patrick and his mother are waiting for a woman to make a speech, the boy draws a picture, one that shows you, Roland, and the Crimson King, apparently imprisoned at the top of the Dark Tower.”

Part 3 / Chapter III / Section 11 : Ed Deepneau

Nancy Deepneau tells Roland that she had an Uncle Ed, but it is not the same one that Stephen King wrote about in Insomnia. Roland believes that King named the antagonist, Ed Deepneau, to get their attention.

“Because the story hinges on the Dark Tower,” Nancy said, “and because there’s a character in it named Ed Deepneau. He happens to be the villain of the piece.” The villain of the piece, Roland thought. No wonder her color rose. “Do you have anyone by that name in your family?” he asked her. “We did,” she said. “In Bangor, which is the town King is writing about when he writes about Derry, as he does in this book. The real Ed Deepneau died in 1947, the year King was born. He was a bookkeeper, as inoffensive as milk and cookies. The one in Insomnia is a lunatic who falls under the power of the Crimson King. He attempts to turn an airplane into a bomb and crash it into a building, killing thousands of people.”

Part 3 / Chapter IV / Section 4 : Paul Sheldon

He thinks of Misery—Annie Wilkes calling Paul Sheldon a cockadoodie brat for trying to get rid of silly, bubbleheaded Misery Chastain.

Part 4 / Chapter V / Section 5 : Bill Denbrough

A helpful robot in the Dark Tower has the same nickname as Bill.

“Stuttering Bill changes the propane tank and does the maintenance when it needs maintaining, which hasn’t been but twice in all the time I’ve been here.”

Part 4 / Chapter V / Section 9 : Carrie White

Pretty sure this is a reference to Carrie.

Through her watering eyes Susannah thought Joe still looked pissed that she had interrupted his comedy routine in such drastic (not to mention messy) fashion, and in a way she didn’t blame him. He’d been doing a really good job; she’d gone and spoiled it. Aside from the pain, which was abating a little now, she was horribly embarrassed, remembering the time she had started her period in gym class and a little trickle of blood had run down her thigh for the whole world to see—that part of it with whom she had third-period PE, at any rate. Some of the girls had begun chanting Plug it UP!, as if it were the funniest thing in the world.

Part 4 / Chapter VI / Section 1 : Pennywise

In Dandelo's final moments, he bears a striking resemblance to a certain psychotic clown.

Joe staggered, waving his arms for balance and looking around at her. His upper lip rose, exposing his teeth—perfectly ordinary teeth, and why not? He wasn’t the sort of vampire who survived on blood. This was Empathica, after all. And the face around those teeth was changing: darkening, contracting, turning into something that was no longer human. It was the face of a psychotic clown.

Part 5 / Chapter III / Section 1 : Mike Enslin

Weird but true: this seems like a pretty clear reference to Mike's compulsion in the hotel room in 1408. “Although he was not ordinarily a fussy man, he circled the room, setting them straight. ”

Relentless as ever, a man who always learns to speak the language of the land (at least some of it) and the customs of the country; he is still a man who would straighten pictures in strange hotel rooms.

References will be here!