Dark Tower Book Series
Characters
Overview
Review
The Waste Lands
by Stephen King
The Waste Lands
The Wast Lands Back Cover

Shardik has Eddied up a tree.

MIR EMBRACED THE TREE
The giant Shardik has Eddie up a tree.

 

 

 

Susannah shoots Shardik.

"HOLD ME STILL, ROLAND"
Susannah shoots and kills Shardik.

 

 

 

The Dark Tower

THE DARK TOWER

 

The Tower, The Rose, The Key

KEY
Jake finds the key and the rose.

 

The Rose

ROSE

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie the Choo-Choo.

"CHARLIE THE CHOO-CHOO"
Is Charlie happy or has he just gone 'round the bend?

Jake battles the Plaster Man

THE PLASTER MAN ROARED
Jake struggles to get back to Roland's World

Roland is the Gunslinger

ROLAND KNELT BEFORE HER
Roland is a Gunslinger.

Gasher takes Jake to the Tick-Tock Man

"BETTER DUCK, DEARIE!"
Gasher drags Jake to the Tick-Tock Man.

Roland kills for Jake

HE FIRED....
Roland saves Jake.

Blaine the Mono

BLAINE THE MONO
Traveling at 800 mph, Blaine speeds over the Wasteland.

Demons of the Wasteland

CRUISED ON LEATHER WINGS
The Wasteland.

Monsters and dragons

PRANCING AND CAVORTING


CHARACTERS

Roland of Gilead is The Gunslinger. The Tower is his obsession. By reaching the Dark Tower Roland hopes to stop the destruction of mid-world, maybe even reverse the destruction.

Marten was a great sorcerer who had seduced Roland’s mother.

Susannah is the fused personality of Odetta Holmes and Detta Walker. She was drawn from New York City 1964 to mid-world by Roland. She is now a gunslinger.

Eddie was a prisoner of heroin from New York City 1987. He was also drawn into mid-world by Roland. He is a gunslinger.

Mir (as known in legend) Shardik as identified by its manufacturer. Mir is seventy-foot giant cyborg bear.

Jake Chambers is an eleven-year old from New York City 1977. Jake died in New York City at the hands of Jack Mort. He also died in mid-world when Roland let Jake fall into an abyss. Just before Jake fell he said to Roland, “Go then - there are other worlds than these.” Roland thinks this is one of the most important things anyone has ever told him.

Jack Mort, the pusher. He was a serial killer. Mort dropped a brick on Odetta Holmes’s head when she was five-years old. This was the incident that precipitated the Detta Walker personality. It was again in 1959 that Mort pushed Odetta into the path of a train which took her legs. Mort also pushed Jake in front of a bus when Jake died in New York City. Mort’s mind however was controlled by Walter at the time he pushed Jake.

Walter, the man in black is half-human. We don’t know what the other half is yet.

Oy is a billy-bumbler who can talk with limited vocabulary. Oy looks like a combination of a dog and a raccoon. He is extremely loyal to Jake.

Pubs and Grays are two survivor groups at conflict who occupied the deteriorated city of Lud.

Calvin Towers sold Jake a book Charlie the Choo-Choo. Towers also gave Jake a riddle book but the answers in the back of the book were gone.

Blaine the Train is a pink bullet train that travels in excess of eight hundred miles per hour. Blaine is a pain. He is suicidal and wants to riddle.

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Overiew
by Brenda Krekeler


The Waste Lands
by Stephen King

1991
The Waste Lands
The Dark Tower III

Roland, Eddie and Susannah were sixty some miles inland from the west ocean. They had set up a camp where Roland could heal. While here Roland taught Eddie and Susannah how to shoot. Roland was particularly concerned with Susannah. He knew he had to bring out a bit of Detta Walker. Susannah shot and hit all six rocks with lightening speed. Then they heard a hideous noise and heard trees falling in the forest. A seventy-foot bear known as Mir in legend was attacking Eddie. Roland held Susannah on his shoulders. The bear had a radar dish sticking out of its head. Susannah shot the dish and the bear collapsed. The bear had been a cyborg, part biological and part machine.

That night Roland told them he thought he was going insane. Roland had two memories. One memory was where he had found Jake at the way station and their trek across the desert and over and through the mountains to a palaver with the man in black. Roland’s second memory was the same trek but Jake did not exist. Eddie told Roland to block out both memories. That same night Roland told them that as a child he had heard stories about the great bear Mir also called Shardik. The bear was set to guard a door, a portal. If you identified the site of the portals and drew intersecting lines between them you can find the Dark Tower at the intersection. Roland threw the jawbone into the fire because he heard the voice of his father tell him to do so. It caused a very intense light. But Eddie saw more. Eddie saw the shape of a key and a red rose. When Eddie realized the other two had not seen these manifestations in the jawbone Eddie decided to keep it to himself for now.

The following morning Eddie woke from a dream where he saw Balazar’s card tower then he saw the Dark Tower. He bolted up awake and heard the giant bear proclaiming “…SHUTTING DOWN! SHUTDOWN WILL BE COMPLETE IN ONE HOUR AND SIX MINUTES! THERE IS NO DANGER.”

They packed up and set out to back trail the giant bear’s path to find the portal it was guarding. They found the portal. Its location had a strange effect on Eddie and he could not leave fast enough. At the portal Roland told Eddie and Susannah to look at a direction but not at anything specifically. They both saw it. It was the beam. By following this beam it would lead them to the Tower. The beam was identified by a pathway where leaves, trees and shrubs pointed in its direction. Roland confided to Eddie and Susannah he believed he was seriously going insane. The memory of dual realities was making him crazy. He had horrific nightmares about Jake. Roland gave his gun and knife to Eddie because he was afraid he might become dangerous to them.

Jake, back in New York City, was alive but he was suffering his own sense of being crazy about the same duel realities that was haunting Roland. Jake remembered everything about the desert, mountains and Roland. Jake wanted to go back to the desert. What Jake did not know and Roland was becoming keenly aware of was Roland had caused this temporal division when Roland had prevented Mort from pushing Jake into the path of a bus. While Roland was in the mind of Mort, he changed things and in doing so both he and Jake had two memories of the same time frame.

Jake’s life in New York City was unremarkable. His wealthy parents hand farmed him out to the best school regardless of money and to a housekeeper. His parents were rarely home. But Jake remembered how he had died in New York City and how he had died in Roland’s world. He also knew how much he loved Roland. When Roland had visited New York City in Mort’s mind Roland had caused a break in future events by preventing Mort from pushing Jake into the road. Roland had prevented Jake’s death and set up these two memories for them both.

While walking away from the portal the giant bear had protected for a thousand years, and following the beam, Eddie saw a piece of wood he knew he needed. Inside the wood he saw the shape of the key. It was the shape of the key he had seen in the fire when Roland burned the jawbone of the man in black.

That evening Eddie started carving the key.

Jake was led to or followed something to a book store where he bought a book titled Charlie the Choo-Choo from Mr. CalvinTowers. Mr. Towers also gave a book of riddles to Jake but all the answers to the riddles had been torn out. He was also taken along a path where he saw a red rose and found a key.

Jake knew of Eddie and Susannah and he kept thinking, “Eddie, give the key to Roland. Let Roland touch the key.”

When the key was close to being done Eddie showed the key to Roland. Roland held the key and the voices that were driving him crazy became very distant. Eddie was afraid to finish the key because he knew he would fuck it up. Eddie could hear Henry criticizing him. Roland told Eddie he had lost the face of his father. Eddie spent some time by himself and told Roland he was sorry that he was scared. Roland held him and told Eddie he love him. That evening, Eddie continued work on the key. The next morning Eddie insisted they leave camp early.

They found their destination. It looked like Stonehenge. Eddie said it was happening now and he had to go get Jake. Roland and Susannah went with him. Roland had his gun now. Eddie yelled, “There is a monster between the two worlds.”

Jake had dreams about Eddie when Eddie was thirteen-years old. The day Jake packed his back pack and left home forever he followed the beam and found Eddie, as the boy in his dreams, playing basketball with his brother Henry. Jake hid from them and soon followed them to a haunted house.

At the haunted house Jake fought a monster to get to Roland’s world. Eddie fought a monster to get to Jake. Susannah grabbed onto the invisible cold thing that was attacking her. She became Detta Walker and called on Detta’s sexual skills to hold on to the monster and distract its attentions from Jake and Eddie. The monster ripped her yet she held on to it. Roland ran passed Eddie sideways, grabbed Jake and brought him back to Eddie and Susannah. Once they settled, Jake asked Roland if he would drop him again? Roland told him he would never leave him. Deep, deep inside Roland’s Ka he felt this might not be true. Roland hugged Jake and Jake finally relaxed. Now tears came. The voices were gone for Jake and for Roland.

Jake stated, “You haven’t found the train yet.”

Jake found a billy-bumbler and named it Oy. The billy-bumbler has limited speech and is a cross between a raccoon and a dog. Oy formed a strong bond with Jake.

They found a small town called River Crossing. They met a group of very old people. The old people recognized Roland as a gunslinger and bowed to him and kissed his hand. Here Roland received a silver cross from Aunt Talitha, the matriarch of River Crossing. Jake asked them about Blaine the Train. The old people said last time they thought they saw or heard the train was about ten years ago. They described it as being so fast you could hardly see it. After a few seconds there would be a tremendous loud sound that hurt their ears and vibrated the earth.

They left River Crossing after a large feast. That night at camp they heard the drums again. Eddie thought it sounded like the back beat of ZZ Top’s “Velcro Fly”. The drums were coming from a very large city called Lud and the beam went right through the city.

They came upon a huge bridge. They could see the bridge was intact except for one place that had a large hole. Eddie had a fear of heights and the thought of crossing the bridge gave him a sense of dread but he did so none the less. Jake was half way across the broken part of the bridge when he saw he had forgotten Oy. Jake ran back to Oy. Oy tried to cross on the steel tie rods but his claws slipped. Jake jumped and grabbed for Oy. Oy bit into Jake’s hand and held on. Jake lost his balance. Eddie did not think. He immediately ran out and grabbed Jake. Once, Jake was safe he told Oy to release his hand. Oy appeared very sad about biting Jake’s hand. With all the excitement no one noticed an old man approaching. Gasher grabbed Jake and told the rest of them not to follow. Roland told Jake he would not break his promise. Jake knew Roland would come after him. Gasher dragged Jake through tunnels in the city. Roland sent Eddie and Susannah to the Cradle where Blaine the Train was located. On the way to the station they were attacked by a crowd of old people. Susannah shot and killed many of them. Some ran away. Others stood frozen. The old people told Eddie and Susannah where to find Blaine the Train. The old people warned Eddie and Susannah that Blaine had stopped talking ten years ago and he was no longer working. Eddie and Susannah allowed the rest of the people to leave. They proceeded to the train. Blaine was pink and appeared bright and shiny. The train was alive but asleep. Eddie talked into a box trying to get Blaine’s attention. Eddie heard a very small voice telling him to be quiet, not to disturb Blaine. The small voice called itself Little Blaine and warned Eddie that Blaine was very dangerous. Then Blaine woke up.

Roland tracked Jake. Oy picked up Jake’s scent and he led Roland through the maze of tunnels following the path Gasher dragged Jake. Roland discovered the two traps Gasher led them through. Roland by passed the first trap but triggered the second trap. He wanted Gasher to think the second trap stopped him. Jake thought Gasher believed Roland was stopped because he slowed his pace and started singing a jaunty tune. Gasher was diseased and very close to death. His skin was covered with nasty boils that oozed green gunk. He was taking Jake to the Tick-Tock Man. Once at the door, Gasher forgot the password. Gasher had the password written on a piece of paper stuck under his hat. Gasher asked Jake to read the word. Jack realized Gasher wasn’t afraid of dying but he did not want to be humiliated. Jack told him the word was bountiful. Gasher replied with the correct password and they were granted entrance. Tick-Tock was very interested in Jake and made nasty, snide remarks. Jake noticed Tick-Tock had a “time-piece” but it ran backwards.

Roland and Oy discovered where Jake was and Oy traveled through some air ducts and identified how many people were in the room with Jake. When Oy came back he tapped his claw six times. Roland sent a strong mental message to Jake telling him to cause a distraction and to stand by the entrance to the room and open the door. Jake’s distraction worked well. He revealed Gasher’s secret written password under his cap. During the ensuing ruckus Jake saw Oy pounce onto Tick-Tock’s face. Oy gauged his eye and scratched him deeply. Tick-Tock pulled Oy off his face and was about to tear him in half when Jake grabbed an old German machine-gun and shot Tick-Tock. The machine-gun locked up. Jake then saw another gun on Tick-Tock’s thrown. He took it and put a shot in Tick-Tock’s head. Jake knew Tick-Tock was dead. Jake remembered to open the door. He dropped the gun going for the door. Gasher grabbed Jake and choked him until he passed out.

Hearing some wheels whirl, the door opened for Roland. When Roland entered the room where Jake was he saw Oy trying to get Gasher off of Jake. Roland shot Gasher in the face dead. He shot the others in the room as well. Oy was licking Jake’s pale face.

Blaine interviewed Eddie and Susannah and learned about Jake’s capture and Roland’s efforts to find Jake. Eddie and Susannah had told Blaine about the riddle book. They also told Blaine that the gunslinger knew hundreds of riddles. Blaine wanted to riddle so he helped get Roland and Jake to the Cradle. First he opened the door to allow Roland entrance into the room where Jake was being strangled by Gasher. Then Blaine decided he would help motivate Roland and Jake. He sounded alarms throughout Lud and everyone started to go crazy; some killing themselves. Blaine told Roland and Jake to follow a floating steel sphere. Explosions were being set off all over the city. Blaine had the city set with explosives everywhere. He told Roland and Jake if they did not leave with him they would die from the toxic chemical explosions he was about to release.

Roland, Jake and Oy continued to follow the sphere which took them through huge areas filled with computers. Roland thought all these computers were Blaine’s brain.

Jake was sure he had killed Tick-Tock but a dark man came to Tick-Tock and woke him up. The man identified himself as the Ageless Stranger. He said he was sometimes called Merlin or Maerlyn but he was never that man. He said sometimes he was called the Magician or the Wizard. He told Tick-Tock to call him Richard Fannin. Fannin told the man who used to be the Tick-Tock man to say to him, “My life for you!” Tick-Tock’s name used to be Andrew Quick and he repeated relentlessly, “My life for you! My life for you!” until Fannin made him stop. Then Fannin the Wizard led Andrew to a closet with gas masks. Fannin would survive the blasts and toxins but Andrew needed to have protection. Andrew agreed that he would kill Roland for Fannin. Fannin hoped Blaine would burn them at the Cradle but since Blaine had become eccentric in recent years Fannin could not depend on Blaine and he could not have Roland get any closer to the Tower.

They were following the path of the Beam and should, Roland thought, come out at the Cradle. They did. Once up an escalator, Eddie and Susannah saw them and were very happy. They hugged and kissed each other.

Blaine told them they had to answer his riddle or in ten minutes the chemical and biological toxic explosions would kill them as well as the thousands of people still alive in Lud.

Susannah told Roland to help her remember the face of her father. Roland hypnotized her and she became Detta Walker and she knew the answer to the riddle. It was prime numbers in reverse. They selected the numbers in the correct sequence and Blaine told them they best run for the train if they wanted to live.

Blaine immediately pressurized the cabin. He started out of town and as he did so he removed all the train parts so that Roland, Susannah, Eddie, Jake and Oy were sitting on air. They could see the deteriorated city below them as they appeared to be flying over the mono rail. They witnessed the death of thousands of people at the hand of Blaine’s chemical and biological bombs.

Jake told Blaine he knew Blaine wanted to commit suicide. Blaine wanted to riddle. Roland boomed in his loudest voice that he would not riddle. If Blaine was going to kill them any how, kill them now. Then Roland proposed a riddle fest. If Blaine could not answer one of Roland’s riddles then Blaine would let them off the train in Topeka. Blaine accepted.

Book Reviews

by Brenda Krekeler

The Waste Lands was the best book I read in 1991/1992 and still ranks up in my top ten favorites. That was the first time I read it. And, it was definitely the best! Subsequently I have read it 5 or 6 times. Each time I read it, it stands tall. I am always entranced by the love that is developed between the ka-tet. Roland, Eddie, Susannah and eventually Jake and Oy have a bond that is seldom experienced in such great writing. The Waste Lands is a thrill ride from beginning to end. It never stops. This road trip is the epitome of all road trips. Fun, excitement and challenges await the reader on each page. As you spend your efforts with Roland's ka-tet, you become intimately involved in their lives as if it were your life. Never a dull moment? Exactly! You will be called upon to relate various incidents with future experiences of the group and to recall past experiences of Roland and many other characters you know in King's literature as well as others. "The Waste Land" by T.S. Eliot and Robert Browning's "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" are wonderful background readings for Stephen King's The Waste Lands. You will marvel at the intricately woven story telling. I am spellbound. I have already started Wizard and Glass for my first read ever. I am very excited! What a marvelous time in literature to have such an opportunity to witness, to share in the art of such a writing master.