Welcome back to my first read of the Dark Tower series! Today I finish up The Drawing of the Three with The Pusher.
The Dark Tower movie opens in theaters on August 4th. This leaves me with a decision to make. I will post a review of the movie that Monday, August 7th. I can try to pound through book 3, The Wastelands in two weeks, take a break for the movie, or put the first read on hold until after the movie comes out. Thoughts?
[Update: I decided to start writing Game of Thrones recap posts, so the Dark Tower Big Read is on hiatus at least until the end of season 7 of Game of Thrones. I will still write a review of the Dark Tower movie.]
Before The Pusher, we get another shuffle (re-shuffle). Roland is in a bad way. Odetta is back, but they have to get the three of them to the third door so Roland can get more antibiotics, and two of them aren’t in walking shape.
Roland sends Eddie to push Odetta until they reach the door, then bring back the wheelchair to transport him. Roland gives Eddie his gun, but warns him not to leave it with Odetta, lobstrosities and big cats notwithstanding. Eddie and Odetta make love along the way. He leaves her the gun.
When Roland and Eddie reach the door, it doesn’t say what Roland expects it to. It doesn’t say one word, “Death”; it says two words, “The Pusher.” Judging from his reaction, Eddie thought it was a reference to drugs (as did I). It turns out it is something else.
Jack Mort is an accountant. And a serial killer.
His preferred method is pushing. (I once read a decent book about a woman with an uncontrollable urge to push people off ledges who hikes the Appalachian Trail.) Which doesn’t seem like the best way to evade detection, but whatever.
Riding inside his head, Roland prevents Mort from pushing Jake into traffic, killing him and sending him Roland’s world. Redemption for the events of the first book? It might have created a paradox, but Roland doesn’t pause long enough to consider it.
Roland also learns that Mort was both the man who dropped the brick on Odetta’s head—leading Detta to manifest for the first time—and the man who pushed her in front of the train.
Back on the other side of the door, Eddie hasn’t found Odetta, but Detta found him. He winds up trussed up on the beach, waiting for encroaching darkness and the arrival of the lobstrosities. Detta waits for Roland, planning to kill him as soon as he returns through the door. And he knows it.
But first things first, Roland needs antibiotics. He could also use some ammunition. He heads to a gun shop for the first, but can’t buy ammunition without a permit to carry. Long story short, he gets the ammo and the guns of two police officers. Holding up a drugstore gets him the antibiotics.
Roland has a plan to return safely. He doesn’t bring Mort back. He forces Mort’s body to jump down onto the tracks in front of an upcoming train. Detta seeing this causes her personality to split from Odetta’s—maybe physically. What is left is Susannah. The third.
What I’m Drinking
Lager of the Lakes.
When he approaches the pharmacy, Roland reflects that he “had known magicians, enchanters, and alchemists in his time,” but that most had been “clever charlatans” or “stupid fakes.” Some, though—those “few could call demons and the dead, could kill with a curse or heal with strange potions.”
Roland mentions that he knew one of these, “a creature that pretended to be a man and called itself Flagg.” He saw Flagg “change a man who had irritated him into a howling dog.”
It appears there really are big cats in them hills, but we don’t get to see them.
The scenes set in our world alone are King at his worst. But I really like when Roland crosses over, if only for him thinking things like that Shooter’s Bible is a noble name for a book and interpreting prescription medicine as requiring a “sorcerer’s fiat.” This section was the best of the three. The gambit was better than the one to get Eddie past customs, and the action scenes better than the shootout at Balazar’s.
Susannah is a name I recognize from chatter around the series. And she has a book named for her, so she must be pretty important.
Roland’s thoughts suggest that Flagg (presumably Randall Flagg), the Man in Black, and Marten are three different people. I suspect they are really one, and eternal.
A weak middle third notwithstanding, I think I enjoyed The Drawing of the Three more than The Gunslinger. I am certainly more invested in the series now. But the Man in Black makes no appearance. There is no clear setup for the third book. Roland wetting his ammunition and losing two fingers at the very beginning of the book drives so much of the story, but we aren’t told why he was passed out on the beach, and the lobstrosity attack is very abrupt.
You can find all of my Dark Tower Big Read posts here.