The Dark Tower – The Drawing of the Three

My on-going real-time reviews of THE DARK TOWER novels by STEPHEN KING.  Continued from here:

All reviews written without reading the books’ introductions … nor reading reviews or anything else about the books other than King’s pure fiction itself.

[All my real-time reviews are linked from here:]

There is no guarantee how quickly this review will progress, whether it be days or years.


first published 1987 – this edition New English Library 2003


Argument. Prologue: The Sailor.

“Did-a-chick? Dum-a-chum? Dad-a-cham? Ded-a-check?”

Curt summary of the palaver’s imponderables heretofore in the first book. With some relief, I learn that I am not alone in not fully grasping the exact audit-trail of the quest, the man in black, the imputed history of the gunslinger’s trials of upbringing … except its hey-judeness. And the boyjake within many of the readers’souls. Mine included. Followed by the gunslinger beach-headed and meeting the pincer-movement danger of a “lobstrosity” creature (what a brilliant description in the book!) that reminds me of the Newts (ts, ts, ts,ts) from ‘War With The Newts’ by Karel Capek. I feel that I am on a roll with these books. To such an extent I’ve ordered the rest of the ‘Dark Tower’ books up to volume7 from the amazon. (1 Feb 11)


I. The Door. 1 – 3

“I am, in short, a man on the edge of everything.”

Variations on a Theme of Three – and Roland Gunslinger dwells on his predicament – amid an evocation of sea-stranding and lobsterish aftermath – counting his unspent gun shells, sea shells, waterskins, toes, fingers … eating jerky … jerking, Jaking…  opting the way to hobble – North. (1 Feb 11 – two hours later)

4 -6

“He walked out of nowhere toward nowhere, a man from another time who, it seemed, had reached a point of pointless ending.”

Through the eyes of any reader the words morph into a shape at which they merely hint – but this is a blend of mcgoohan’s prisoner and alice’s wonder as the door appears as if out of that same nowhere … (Is it a coincidence that heroin and heroine vary by the first letter of ‘eyes’?) (1 Feb 11 – another 4 hours later)

II. Eddie Dean. 1 – 5

“…and then there was one of those odd blank moments.”

I have a feeling that the head-lease author of these transitions via ‘eyes’ into a different ‘I’ between ‘I’s has, throughout The Dark Tower so far, often tried to rustle up words (the mot juste, bon mot) and often misses and clings to neologisms or even wrongisms – teasing, slightly mis-firing words that cling like burrs to the imagination.  Meanwhile, I honestly don’t think there has before been, via a doorway that fiction provides, such a real ambivalent empathy criss-crossing between two characters, back and forth within psychological impulses and physical lavatorials of the two bodies that are the singular ‘you’. (1 Feb 11 – another 2 hours later)

6 – 12

“…the lowling the prisoner thought of as ‘the sallow thing’…”

finnegans wake, at heart, has nothing on gunslinger/eddie’s flight with popkins. And drugs are just another catalyst for humans to act like lobstrosities. Or like great authors with great fiction steaming out of their brains.  Is the author looking through my eyes as I read his words?  Or am I looking through his as he writes them?  (2 Feb 11)

III. Contact and Landing. 1 – 7

“He must Clear the Customs.”

This book shares the compelling, page-turning ability of King’s mainstream horror output with its own complex haunting high fantasy. High, indeed.  Hits high. Here the smuggling of smugglers within other smugglers as well as the smuggled goods – and vice versa in some train of russiandoll thoughts?  The book also smuggles its own readers inside, all disguised as myself. How many of the hundred hits per day upon this review are actually readers of the book? Most are still captive within its pages and have never heard of the web-intermet (in 1987), I guess. (3 Feb 11)

8 – 13

“I AM another person.”  (cf: McGoohan’s Prisoner from the 1960s)

With the easing in and out of the ‘head’ (or air-carriage lavatory), I have learnt for the first time in the 63 years (so far) of my life about the true significance of the Clark Kent – Superman synergy, and why one of them wore his underpants on the outside (without being facetious). Serious fiction, this. A serious job. Not just entertainment but something far more relevant to our existence. (3 Feb 11 – four hours later)

[I received this morning the remaining five volumes of THE DARK TOWER from Amazon.  I am asonished at the huge size of some of these books. I was led astray, I guess, by the size of the first two books. Have I bitten off more than I can chew – smuggling myself too far into some giant king-ship of real-time reviews by planning to continue this process with the whole series?  I remain confident that this shall be a very rewarding journey for me and my style of reviewing – a book full of intentional and un-intentional treasures of literary imagination within and around the ‘The Intentional Fallacy’, Nemonymity and  the ‘Synchronised Shards of Random Truth & Fiction’. ]

14 – 18

“The blade, honed almost to the point of invisibility, seemed to be all age caught in metal.”

The (self-harming?) process of Eddie / Roland between two realities with the contraband seemed very much like a reader grappling through the portal of any book of fiction, but particularly this book of fiction.  The contraband being the mind one may leave behind or take with you, depending on how tractable any portal’s customs become.  Meanwhile, this is a strikingly funny scene, too, in the aeroplane.  A strangely effective blend of the birth pangs of ‘fiction as religion’  and theatrical farce. (4 Feb 11)

IV. The Tower. 1 – 4

“…it was like seeing those hidden images in a child’s puzzle, which, once seen, could never be unseen.”

I am trapped by this book.  I shall never be able to unread it, even if I put a stop to reading it right now… I dare not describe the plot for fear of spoilers, but this singular synergy of two characters from two different places seems to have been prepared just for me – primed by watching ‘The Prisoner’ in the 1960s and LOST in the 2000s – and here I am trapping others in the same communal web. A Jungian rite of passage, each with its doorway behind me, following me following me.  (Can a dark tower cast a shadow?) (4 Feb 11 – two hours later)

5 – 8

“Like connecting the dots in a picture you can already see what it is.”

I sense the Three of this book to be akin to the Holy Trinity? Meanwhile, here we have Eddie amid the mafia-chasing back-story machinations of stash-running and brother-baiting – through the skyscraper towers of New York (alongside Roland’s view of it  from the distant future?) towards the Tower? Or Twin ones? To be or not to be? (4Feb 11 – another 3 hours later)

9 – 14

“Johnny Cash is everything.”

The twin (E/R)-viewed Tower appears to be similar to the ones I built when a kid in the 1950s.  Here the boss-mafioso’s office-doodle construction of 3D As.  Or the leaning one that slants from me like pisa I once visited upon the world on a very hot italian-day a few years back.  I am tickled all colours not just pink by the mafioso’s bewilderment at the strobing E/R eyes.  Retina as back-story. (5 Feb 11)

V. Showdown and Shoot-Out. 1 – 4

“…lights that rose and changed, rose and changed, rose and changed. Gold to green; green to yellow; yellow to red; red to gold again.”

Pizza (pisa) van – Rockola – and I am taught something in this section, something I already knew about the expression maninblack but something I had forgotten and till now not linked with this book. I am genuinely in suspense how E now re-stashes in the john.  But I shall leave this pent-up for a while while I get on with some necessities in my non-reading life… (5 Feb 11 – two hours later).

5 – 16

“When you feel the wind of the slug on your cheek, you can’t really call it wild.”

No resolution to my suspense…yet.  But watching, through the door’s way-station, those ‘things’ slide in and out of the sea like Giant Newts or Deep Old Ones – amid the duelling dreams of high noon – well, this is what fiction should be all about. Not characters and places simply multiplying each other arithmetically, but characters and places to the geometric power of author. Exponentially. (5 Feb 11 – another 9 hours later)

17 – 21

“The thing was so big it looked prehistoric, so heavy he knew he would have to lift it two-handed. The recoil, he thought, is apt to drive me through the nearest wall. That’s if it fires at all. Yet there was some part of him that wanted to hold it, that responded to its perfectly expressed purpose, that sensed its dim and bloody history and wanted to be part of it.”

Like me at the crazy age of 63 starting to read this fucking bookgiant called dark tower for the first time.  (5 Feb 11 – another 3 hours later)

22 – 25

“Look at you, sitting there and shaking like a man who’s eaten an apple from the fever-tree.”

Along with the NY mafioso, indeed last night’s angry foul-mouthed ‘me’ has also been blown away by the shootout, where the gunslinger has for the first time become a gunslinger and king wordslinger king wordslinger.  The now twinned (for jake, read eddie) quest continues from the lobstrous turning-point… (6 Feb 11)


“…images flashing past like one-eyed jacks….”

A post-PRISONER  intermezzo on LOST’s beach and between TWIN PEAKS as a blurred vision of TWIN TOWERS (ka + ka) that perhaps will eventually blend as THE DARK TOWER – and the twin-eyed Eddie and Roland, licking their wounds and cannibalising lobstrosities, ‘build’ like shuffling playing-card towers into a texture of characters, with weaknesses and all, especially Eddie, yet he cooked and he created the travois and showed initiative. Even so, they are both story characters when push comes to shove, so why did Roland as the story’s given main protagonist choose Eddie from the trammels of a shoot-out plot when so many real readers like us could have provided Roland’s companion and travelled from door to door untouched by any fictioneering…? (6 Feb 11 – three hours later)


I. Detta and Odetta. 1 – 4

“Hate would not help do that work. Hate would, in fact, hinder it. / But sometimes you went on hating just the same.”

An Adlerian comparison between the Eddie /Roland schizm and that of Odetta / Detta as we are plunged without yet a meaning-paddle into barely post-blanked JFK civilrights USA – leading to a very effective Joycean streamofconsciousness molly’s monologue… This book continues to A-MAZE. (7 Feb 11)

5 – 7

“So easy to sing we, so easy to be we.”

The  E/R schizm aligned with stepping inside a cinema film of the sixties – even with reference twice-anachronistically to the film of ‘The Shining’ … as riding the rail-ka of new eyes – not Bette Davis’ eyes, no, certainly not, but (O)detta’s eyes, whose father capped ‘shining’ (?) teeth (within a negro mouth?) and hid a trust?  The sense of untimeliness in NY magnified within Eddie’s own eyes –  a sense of somewhere he’d been but not really been.  Not the Whovian way of time-travelling. (7 Feb 11 – two hours later)


“If we don’t die on the way to your Tower we’ll sure as shit die when get there…”

There is more to these schizms than meets the eye(s).  SteadiCam slingshots – to give a false sense of smoothness – and the residual chrysalis of the body left on lobstrous beach while one is in the SteadiCam – a residual vulnerdisability. As you follow inside the eyes of your vehicle’s brown-armed shoplifting – a genuine cliffhanger as E and R reach a critical schizmicidal moment in minds’ mating-games…. (8 Feb 11)

II. Ringing the Changes. 1 – 8

“To tell you the truth, me fine bucko, I also feel extremely confused.”

In many ways, more than just in its size, this series of books (so far) is Proustian, with Proust’s own several-volumed novel ‘A la recherche du temps perdu’ aka ‘Remembrance of Things Past’ aka ‘In Search of Lost Time’ being a treatment of separate selves of the same person through (Whovian?) Time and, in hindsight now, a treatment of Kingian schizms. Also, it shouldn’t be left unsaid — despite the mad tower-of-cards fertile creation that apparently is ‘The Dark Tower’ series, ostensibly quite different from SK plots elsewhere — that these books have the successful trademark SK style of thought-patterns in italics, crude-ish interpolations of reality and fantasy, the introduction of well-characterised third party viewpoints of the same event  etc etc.  But here we have many-minds or Proustian ‘selves’ humpbacking other minds or other selves –  as a parallel with the readers’ minds humpbacking on King’s mind.  But it is almost as if King is now here allowing himself sometimes to humpback ours!  And ‘Drawing’ seems to be evolving as the term for this phenomenon, as the (O)detta scenario spins out deliciously before our a-mazed reading eyes, amputated limbs and all. (8 Feb 11 – two hours later) EDIT: humpback –> piggy-back?

III. Odetta on the Other Side.  1 -3

“…how they found that gozo down in the Florida Keys with Christa McAuliff’s left hand mounted on his den wall next to his prize marlin?”

Is that quote a reference to the Challenger disaster or a premonition of ‘Duma Key’, or both? Odetta “‘You ain’t in Kansas anymore” but in lobstrous land with E & R. She asks “Who am I?”, with her speech then automatically continuing like a metaphorical phantom limb. Crazeeeee reality tics ensue.  This is ONE CRAZEE EXPERIENCE me keep coming back to this book during each day – a book now a beachhead in my life’s fluidity. (8 Feb 11 – another 4 hours later)

4 – 6

“…the waves which would, at nightfall, bring the lobsters with their alien, lawyerly questions.”

Sometimes I think words are never fit for purpose, but that ‘lawyerly’ and ‘forspecial‘ have a good bash at the reality they’re trying to chip off bit by bit. Beached Eddie and Odetta in conversational appraisal of past, present and now – their poignant relationship building, she a ‘ni**er’ (my google-proof asterisks, not King’s), ‘negro’, ‘black’ or ‘coloured’, which word to describe this lady being dependant on ‘clearing the customs’ – she disbelieving, tussling with her predicament here in the now. Maybe Eddie had more easily taken his own entry into lobstrous land in his druggened stride earlier, he surmises, I surmise. (8 Feb 11 – another hour later)

7 -8

“….the difference between them was much wider than color; they were speaking to each other from separate islands. The water between was time.”

…and that she Odetta has potentially within her a piggy-backer of her own, one this is even more inimical than the lobstrosities, more inimical indeed than E piggy-backing R and viceversa, or King piggy-backing you the reader and, yes, viceversa (or one form of King piggy-backing another form of King?)  – All this as background to a budding love story between O and E makes me feel very very anxious and anxious not to sleep (and lay myself open to schizms) till that anxiety has left me. Good job, it’s now morning here at the moment. (9 Feb 11)

Having just written that, I have learnt just now HERE that the 2003 edition I’m reading is different from the original. That makes my point about King piggy-backing King even more relevant, I guess. (9 Feb 11 – ten minutes later)

IV. Detta on the Other Side. 1 -5

“You made a big mistake, mahfah, …”

I did.  And now here I am again.. Ten hours is a long time in the existence of a person, a period that can change him from a passive reader to an active one. Almost a different reader. And I can say this second creature as the inner Russian Doll or the outer Russian Doll of (O)detta is actually the vilest thing imaginable, not the vilest thing in horror literature per se (there are viler things just by simply weighing the words that are used to describe those viler things at face value), but she is effectively the vilest thing that I’ve felt within me while reading any so-called fiction book – and this is at least partly because of the context where she is introduced … induced. The words are just dressing. Yes, where she is introduced. In this book. And when. Today. This susceptible day in 2011. (9 Feb 11 – ten hours later)

6 – 9

“There was no reason to do such a thing, but a woman like Detta, Eddie thought, needed no reasons.”

You could say that same thing about King and this book. Here, Detta is a detta-bomb or detta-gun, evil and vile but if harnessed what a wonderful enemy against one’s enemies…?  And the best description I’ve ever read of pushing a wheelchair through soft sand. A bit like this reader today being pushed by the author through the text the author created.  A reader still a bit dazed from needing this book as a daily fix. (10 Feb 11)

10 – 13

She peered around again, saw what he was thinking as if it had been printed on him in red ink, and laughed all the harder.”

Viledetta, seen one moment as dat cliche from gonewiththewind and the next as a vessel for her own nicer enemy within to be summoned forth by theexorcist of lindablairwitchproject to defeat the vessel whence it’d likely emerge, is wheel-trenched through the sandtraps by E and R – all in the shadow of “King Lobster“.   (10 Feb 11 – three hours later)

14 – 18

“Christ, she’s dead, she’s had a stroke and she’s dead.”

But you don’t die, I say, when you are on a see-saw: you just go one way or another for a while. See? Then saw.  Meanwhile, with Roland temporarily fey or effete, Eddie realises the endless beach is not endless but squeezed out of existence by their approaching the hills. O lobstrous world, O frabjous day! (11 Feb 11)

RE-SHUFFLE – Les Amoreuses

1 – 6

“We’ve moved up the beach and the species has changed!”

O-frabjous-detta day indeed, as Eddie pushes detta out and her alter-nemo in and onward in the chair as his love – while Roland recovers both himself and his shells. There is something highly emotional (more emotional than in any other literature I know) in these circumstances of the Eddie’s relationship with a hyde-hiding for a forspecial jeckling – as built up by everything treading towards this door-seeking scenario. (11 Feb 11 – four hours later)

7 – 10

“In the dark, I think we were both gray. I love you, Odetta.”

At strand’s end, the discovered door with fluctuating thickness has two words that a withdrawal of omniscient telling conceals: as if the book itself is a door without spoilers of what’s inside. …. with Eddie (as he returns to fetch Roland) leaving for Odetta’s own protection  a gun in her hand because he simply knows Odetta is always Odetta, always has been. Spoilers can work both ways, you see. Blind-spots of retrocausality, but deep deep inside she lurks: the Literary Debt or Ultimate Recession of Fiction.  I have tears in my eyes.  (11 Feb 11 – another 3 hours later)

11 – 17

“His muscles had turned into rusty winches and pulleys in a deserted building.”

A section where shells fire or misfire, and Roland is pushed by Eddie in the wheelchair back to where (today in my own real-time of St Valentine’s Day) he left Odetta – where now lurks instead VileDetta with her own set of prime numbers or primed chambers for Eddie to sink his love in or be sunk by, as Roland, trans(c)ending his sickness, opens the third door. I’m left with one riddle: I am both the opening of a door and the closing of a door.  What am I? See the title of the next section. (14 Feb 11)


I. Bitter Medicine. 1 – 9

“What mattered was the thing which pushed change into the ordinary course of things and sculpted new lines in the flow of lives…”

I’ve been literally on a high about the concept of ‘retrocausality’ in the last year or so and, here, now, I’ve encountered something that sets this concept like a gemstone in the religion of fiction. Yes, the religion of fiction: magic fiction, as opposed to magic realism.  The cruellest gratuitous act is recorded in this section of the book. The most mind-bending double-twists of logic, as characters so far from this book meet and unmeet and meet again amid the synchronised shards of random reality and fantasy.   And here the pusher really does push – all our reading-buttons – as well as loosening a Brick from the Wall  that is ‘you’ (my expression, not the book’s).  [People who read this review may now go out and read the book I’m reviewing and do a ricochet-murder for no reason at all. Is that my fault?  Or the book’s? Or simply the careless engouements of chaos? ] (15 Feb 11)

II. The Honeypot. 1 – 7

“You don’t want to be trine to be cute,”

While I have a few Grand Trines in my Natal Chart, it seems Eddie has none (only oppositions, squares and conjunctions) as he is slip-knot noosed on the sea’s tied-line as lobstrosity fish-bait. While the ‘Really Bad Man’ be away, me Detta do play gratuitous or scheming? While I realview this book here not gratuitously but to entice you into the honeypot of my bloggery.  (17 Feb 11) 

III. Roland Takes His Medicine. 1 – 3

“The only way he could remain in the worm-pit which was this man’s mind was to regard him as no more than a combination atlas and encyclopaedia.”

This is piggy-backing a gps or sat-nav (cf: ‘Full Dark, No Stars’) one that is cross-wired with coincidences of mind and no-mind (fainting) and the propensity, it seems, towards gratuitous acts of murder – and it’s appropriate when ‘they’ get in a Tack-See… (17 Feb 11 – forty-five minutes later)

4 – 9

“He looked like a man wondering how come his horoscope hadn’t told him to beware this day.”

Gunslinger’s sting in a gunslinger shop with two uniformed gunslingers parked outside. Compulsive reading-stuff, whomsoever you’re piggy-backing while reading it. Not knowing all the right words for things doesn’t seem to matter…. (17 Feb 11 – another hour later)

10 – 13

An important statement:

Here he was in a world which struck him dumb with fresh wonder seemingly at every step, a world where carriages flew through the air and paper seemed as cheap as sand. And the newest wonder was simply that for these people, wonder had run out: here, in a place of miracles, he saw only dull faces and plodding bodies.” My bold. (17 Feb 11 – another 3 hours later)

14 -16

“…it seemed that they cared better for the weapons they wore than for the weapons they were.”

The gunslinger slings guns for keflex; the chemist can’t believe a crime is being committed for …. KEFLEX! Still, it’s good King gives us perspectives, if not always the right ones. (17 Feb 11 – another 2 hours later)

IV. The Drawing. 1 -7

“You have forgotten the face of your father.”

That makes me cry. And the splatter and counter-splatter as Roland shoots himself out from reality to fiction and back again, with the respective curved mirrors of author and reviewer competing with each other to reveal this text’s ultimate truth. The author knows nothing, I say. He’s just the vessel. The two-way filter with the baffles between. (17 Feb 11 – another hour later)

8 – 17

“…it was as if she were speaking to him from the top of a deep well into which he was falling.”

Amid the text’s surface enjoyment of the cute observance of police tactics, Roland and Jack Mort the gratuitous serial killer fight to the death in the one body they share, as it were. While ‘good’ woman and ‘bad’ woman amortise debt to compete, to complete the blend of each and each with each other as the Three, the Trinity, as the Black Goddess (cf: Graves’ White Goddess’) falling / rising legless into the well in 2010 – Full Dark, No Stars – where depth and height combine to create a new Level Three, a new Trinity…. (My interpretation, not the Author’s, and this Review perhaps transcends the Book itself to view the lobstrosities as Capek’s Newts, become the new Rats, the new Stars, Beauty and Beast, Fay Wray and King Kong, as symbols of today’s opposites blended each with each to make a new force of both). (17 Feb 11 – another hour later)



“Roland remembered very little of that time; he had been raving, delirious. […] Eddie carried her piggyback, her arms locked loosely around his neck.”

“Once there had been a woman named Odetta Susannah Holmes; later, there had been another named Detta Susannah Walker. Now, there was a third: Susannah Dean.”

END (17 Feb 11 – another 90 minutes later)


The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? – The Bible


I shall be real-time reviewing in due course the third book in ‘The Dark Tower’ series. Please watch for an eventual  announcement and the link to it in the comments below.


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3 responses to “The Dark Tower – The Drawing of the Three

  1. This appeared on Facebook today:

    “Game rules: grab the book closest to you right now. Open to pg. 56. Choose the 5th sentence. Publish as your status and write these rules as a comment. Don’t choose the book you like best or think is the coolest, but the one that is closest.”

    I followed the instructions religiously and the book was THE DARK TOWER – THE DRAWING OF THE THREE by Stephen King (that I was about to RTR). The edition is NEL – Hodder & Stoughton 2003. And my page 56 was completely Blank. No joke. And perhaps appropriate as Nemonymous published in 2002 the world’s first blank story!

  2. Pingback: The Drawing of the Three | My Last Balcony


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