Before we get into today’s subject matter, which is sure to be a quite the rant so brace yourselves, I wanted to first take a little detour and talk about how awesome my sister is. Whilst I was at work doing work like things, and thinking about this post (shhhhhh don’t tell my boss) I received a text from Jen informing me that she picked me up something from Michaels (that’s Michaels the craft story. She didn’t steal something for me from our friend Michael). For those of you who are curious, I love random gift giving. It’s such an awesome way to make someone else feel good time vibes for the day. I especially love random gift giving when I am the recipient of said gifts. Naturally I asked Jen what it was and she sent me a picture of the Game of Thrones coloring book! Yes the very same coloring book I mentioned in yesterdays post! But here’s the kicker… Jen didn’t read yesterdays post yet, she just got it because she knows I like Game of Thrones and am trying this whole adult coloring book thing out. That is why my sister, Jen, is todays Kick Ass Person of the Day! Thanks Jen you’re the best. Now let’s get down to it…
The man in black fled across the dessert, and the gunslinger followed. That one sentence was all it took. Those twelve words were all I needed. After reading that sentence I was instantly drawn into Stephen King’s epic Dark Tower series. Fellow Geeklings, when you assess your life it’s easy to sort through the things that you like, enjoy, and the things that you love. There is a clear difference between enjoying something and loving something. The things that you love should be a smaller list because those things are sacred and special to you. For example the things I love most in the world-
- Hudson the Cat
- The Dark Tower series
- The New York Football Giants
Once you remove the importance of the people in your life you can start focusing on the things that may not be important to others but are specifically important to you. That’s why it’s on your love list. These are the things that you can not live without. Folks I can not live without the Dark Tower series. It’s a fact. I’m not even kidding.
I started reading the Dark Tower books when I was a Sophomore in college. I had heard through a friend of a friend that these books were pretty good, and having not read a Stephen King novel in awhile, I thought why not. I’ve spent a large majority of the day trying to figure out how to word to you guys my love for these books. What I came up with is when I opened up The Gungslinger (book one) it felt that this story had been waiting for me to find it, and that in some ways it was my story. Not “my” as in it was about me, but “my” as it was for me. I consumed these books. I read and read and read and read and took notes and then read again. When I first started my journey with Roland and the rest of the ka-tet there were only four books available in the series with no idea when the final books would be released. But there were a number of books that were connected to the story of the Dark Tower so I consumed those (and took notes. For serious. I have a notebook filled of Dark Tower related easter eggs, as well as parts from the books themselves.). I was obsessed. I have honestly lost count of how many times I’ve read the series, and each time I pull away with something different. Getting older allows you to see things from a different perspective, and clearly I’m not the same person I was when I was a Sophomore in college, so now the books speak to me at a different level. I’ve grown with these characters and these books. I count them as some of my fondest friends.
When people ask me what the Dark Tower books are about I find it a little difficult to sum up the series. For the most part picture Lord of the Rings, a spaghetti western, and some science fiction had a love child together. There is a tower at the center of the universe (yes it’s dark…but not always) that is the axis of the entire universe. All worlds spin from the Tower, but the Tower is sick and dying which is leading to all these strange/horrible things happening throughout the universe. Enter the world’s last gunslinger, Roland, whose lifes quest has been to reach the Tower. When we start off Roland is very much alone, and not the easiest person to love, but he commands respect. He is obsessed by his quest to reach the Tower even if that means making questionable decisions, that we the audience may not agree with. Not to give away the whole thing but Roland is eventually paired up with three different people to join in his quest. These would be gunslingers come from different whens (two from the 80’s and one from the 60’s… yeah there’s a wee bit of time travel in here) and join Roland in pursuit of the Tower.
That is a real nutshell summary of the story. I mean at various points there is a talking train that loves riddles, a wizard, a story that is more or less The Magnificent Seven, not to mention demon like creatures, a rose in a vacant parking lot, and dog/raccoon like creature that can sort of talk (his name is Oy and I love him). The Dark Tower saga encompasses everything that Stephen King has ever written. There are connections to The Stand, Salems Lot, Insomnia, and countless others. Needless to say this story is pretty epic in scope. So epic in fact that despite numerous rumors I never believed that it would ever be able to be turned into a movie. Until today that is.
After years and years, and more recently, months and months of speculation it was announced today that production of the Dark Tower movie would begin in seven weeks. I wanted to be happy. Honestly I did. But all I feel is trepidation. A massive fear that this movie is going to be the biggest let down ever. I hold these books so sacred that I am so defensive of them, and could not stand watching them depicted poorly and that’s exactly the feeling I’ve been getting.
A lot of controversy has been surrounding the casting of Ildris Elba as Roland mostly because he is black and Roland isn’t. Truth be told I have no problem with Ildris Elba being casted as Roland, as a matter of fact I think he’s an incredible fit. I keep picturing Roland from the books with his gruff exterior and the steel and brokeness that rests in his soul, and I think Elba is perfect. I’m very excited to see him attempt to bring Roland to life. I am concerned with what this does to other aspects of the story. Mainly Susannah, an African American woman, pulled from the 60’s and thrust into a new world where the only two people she knows are two white men. Part of Susannah’s character arc is breaking down racial walls. She comes from a time period where she is right in the middle of a the Civil Rights movement, and to be taken from that world and more or less kidnapped by two white men… well it’s not an ideal situation for her. Susannah’s transformation is key to the Dark Tower series, and I think some of that could get lost.
Although I’m starting to get the feeling that the film is going to switch things around a great deal, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Susannah ends up being white. Actually I’m really nervous that Susannah as we know her in the books won’t even make it into the movies. There is a rumor going around right now that Abbey Lee (from Mad Max Fury Road) is going to be cast as the female lead, a character named Tirana. Now Geeklings I am well versed in the Dark Tower books and I honestly have no idea who this character is. After some research I discovered she shows up briefly in the seventh and final book and is not one of the “good guys”. So you can see how this makes me a doubtful and curious to how she could be the female lead. Are they looking to replace Susannah entirely?! Cause what purpose does that serve? I get that Abbey Lee is gorgeous and is coming off a highly successful action movie, but why comprise the story further?
Not to mention from what I read today, King has stated that the movie will start in the middle of the story. Why? The first book is so important to the events that come after. This is when we meet Roland for who he is and allows us to accept him for who he will become. We’re just gonna skip over that? Put the band together and expect us to jump in? It’s like watching Lord of the Rings after the Fellowship is put together. Why would we do that? Doesn’t the audience deserve to watch how these characters come together and form their ka-tet? If this is what happens then right away they’re taking away that core dynamic.
On top of all that one of the writers (might have been the director) said that the movie will take place mostly in modern times. Now this is a big problem as book six is really when we start to spend a lot of time in the modern era. So should we believe that we’re not actually starting at the middle but closer to the end of the journey?! Or are we going to be changing the time travel aspect, since (again this is my theory) Susannah doesn’t need to go through the Civil Rights movement so you can pull her from any time line you want now. Also if we’re starting this far along in the story does that mean I’m not going to get to see Blaine the talking train?! Because that’s bullshit if that’s so. Blaine’s a pain and that is the truth.
Yes I’m aware that all my “gripes” make me sound like a spoiled little child, but again these books are special to me. They’re a very large part of my life and the one series of books that I hold over every other. Why wouldn’t I want to see them done correctly? With something like the Walking Dead I can make my peace with the changes because it almost gives me two different Walking Dead universes. I have my complaints but it doesn’t stop me from watching the show. But that’s different. The Walking Dead hasn’t become a part of the fabric of my life. Yes again I know I sound crazy here, but the Dark Tower books have woven themselves into my everyday existence. I’m very protective of them and don’t want to see them tarnished by a movie that’s looking not to be loyal to the source material. Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy are some of my closest friends. I know everything there is to know about them, and love them all differently. All these characters have been there for me through out different parts of my life, and most recently during my father’s battle with cancer. The last time I re-read the Dark Tower was right before my father passed, and I hadn’t read the story in over four years. I was worried that maybe it wouldn’t be the same anymore. I found solace with these characters and this story, and they were there for me in ways that they hadn’t been in past readings.
All I want is for this story to be treated with the respect and love it deserves. I know that it’s impossible to do these books justice because I hold them so high, but I don’t think I’m asking for a lot when I want the story done correctly. The more changes that are made the more and more the story gets lost. I just want my gunslinger to pursue the man in black and begin his journey for the Tower. I don’t care if he’s white, black, or purple. I just want the story to be right. I want it to still be my story… is that too crazy of a request?