Book 548: The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower #3) – Stephen King

I am now, with a lot of stretching of my imagination and film maker interpretation, starting to see where they may have gotten the screenplay for The Dark Tower.

Tentative doesn’t even begin to cover it. If you cut all of the books into paragraphs throw them in the air and then pick just enough to make a script you might get the same thing the directors and writers got for that adaptation? Even with that, I feel like they changed so much to “make it fit” (it doesn’t really) that I’m still not 100% sure where they pulled things.

You know that adage Basically after the next book I don’t think I’m even going to try to figure out how they got to the film anymore. It just hurts my head and I’m convinced they’re just part of the infinite monkey theorem: “The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.” (Wikipedia)

This book is starting to really bring things forward and show the intermingling of Mid-World, where the bulk of the series takes place so far, and Keystone World, our world I guess. The Waste Lands picks up immediately after the end of The Drawing of the Three and ties directly back into The Gunslinger, book one, because of a temporal paradox created in Drawing that affects Gunslinger and thus affects this story line. Basically Roland kills someone who killed someone else and it throws his mental stability and that character’s mental stability out of wack.

I thoroughly enjoyed the split narrative of this novel more so than the others. Partially, I think, because of Jake, the character that died/didn’t die I felt this was even stronger than just going back and forth between Eddie, Susannah, and Roland. The way King wrote both characters, their voices, and their settings was so distinct that I found myself really enjoying them and then when they merged the story felt complete for the first time since it started. (This is where it sort of felt like I was getting to the movie portion.) This was also interesting because the merging of the twostory lines was pretty long, but it felt slow.

The remainder of the novel is spent getting to the Waste Lands and a psychotic trained called Blaine. What the travelers/gunslingers know about Blaine is from a children’s book Jake brings from Keystone World. I enjoyed the fleeting interactions we had with other people in Mid World, but am glad King kept the focus on the ka-tet (think Sense 8?) of the core group.

I loved this reference to Tolkien’s Middle Earth (in Mid World – HA!), it gave me a great idea of what the Waste Lands must look like, partially thanks to Peter Jackson’s film adaptation, but also because Tolkien wrote such crazy detailed descriptions that King was like might as well use a world-famous one:

“Other, smaller fissures branched  out from this, and Susannah, who had read her Tolkien, thought: This is what Frodo and Sam saw when they reached the heart of Mordor. These are the Cracks of Doom.” (Loc. 7551)

I’m definitely excited to see where the story goes and am seriously hoping that it continues to pick up the pace. I feel like we’ve met the new antagonist/

Recommendation: These have been a great read so far. They’re not too slow, but they border it occasionally. They’re definitely not fast, but I can feel the pace of the entire series picking up speed. I’m starting to understand more what King talks about when he says each of these books is just a few chapters in a longer story (seriously – each book is only 3-4 chapters at most), but sometimes this is what you need. There aren’t nearly as many characters as there are in Tolkien’s series or Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, so you get to know them much more intimately. I’m still not 100% sure I understand everything that’s going on, but I’m enjoying reading the series and already have book four, Wizard and Glass, checked out from the library!

Opening Line: “It was her first time with live ammunition…and her first time on the draw from the holster Roland had rigged for her.”

Closing Line: “‘SO,’ cried the voice of Blaine. ‘CAST YOUR NETS, WANDERERS! TRY ME WITH YOUR QUESTIONS, AND LET THE CONTEST BEGIN.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)

Additional Quotes from The Waste Lands
“The lessons which are remembered the longest, Roland knew, are always the ones that are self taught.” (Loc. 235)

“And fire was evil stuff that delighted in escaping the hands which created it.” (Loc. 246)

“Of them all, he had been the most perfectly made, a man whose deeply romantic core was encased in a brutally simple box which consisted of instinct and pragmatism.” (Loc. 364)

“Beating heroin was child’s play compared to beating your childhood.” (Loc. 495)

“The quickest way to learn about a new place is to know what it dreams of. I would hear of this Oz.” (Loc. 1146)

“‘All is silent in the halls of the dead,’ Eddie heard himself whisper in a falling, fainting voice. ‘All is forgotten in the stone halls of the dead. Behold the stairways which stand in darkness; behold the rooms of ruin. These are the halls of the dead where the spiders spin and the great circuits fall quiet, one by one.'”(Loc. 1500)

“…the gross carbon of wish and opinion was often blasted into the hard diamonds which he called facts…” (Loc. 1713)

“All of New York was spread out around him, New York at its most seductive—a late-afternoon street serenade with a musician on every corner, all the trees in bloom, and everyone apparently in a good mood.” (Loc. 2045)

“The mild, spicy smell of old books hit him, and the smell was somehow like coming home.” (Loc. 3285)

“The wheel which turns our lives is remorseless; always it comes around to the same place again.” (Loc. 3285)

“All of them felt as if they had passed into a dark and woeful zone of shadow, or into a countryside laboring under some old but still powerful curse.” (Loc. 5331)

“He dabbed blood from his freshly split lip and looked at it thoughtfully, wondering at how quickly the desire to do murder could invade and conquer the human heart.” (Loc. 6074)


8 thoughts on “Book 548: The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower #3) – Stephen King”

  1. This is how I feel about the film of I, Robot. When I finally read Asimov’s Robot novels I was genuinely baffled as to where they might have got the script for that film! It bears no resemblance to any of the novels – I could barely see a plot point in common, let alone a character.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Geoff, I am so pleased you are enjoying these books. I particularly enjoyed the growing relationship of ka-tet in this book. I hope you will enjoy Wizard and Glass too – I thought it was heart-breaking but amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

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