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Stephen King and ‘The Dark Tower’- Surely Destined for the Screen?
October 16, 2014 By Jason Hibbitt
If I were to draw up a list of books that I would love to see adapted for screen, ‘The Dark Tower’ series by Stephen King would be very close to the top of that list…. In fact, it may be at the pinnacle.
‘The Dark Tower’ is a multi-genre series of books set in a multiverse of worlds. The main hero of the series is Roland of Gilead, a spaghetti- western styled ‘Gunslinger’ from Mid-World. Roland is on a quest for The Dark Tower, during which he recruits a ‘ka-tet’ or fellowship of companions each with their own back-story and incentive for joining the quest. The pull of the Dark Tower is relentless on Roland and his companions, and as the story evolves its pull increases to dramatic and fateful consequences.
Now, you may be thinking that this formula is similar to many other epic fantasy novels, most notably The Lord of the Rings. And you would be correct. The author admits that the series is born out of Tolkien’s landmark fantasy epic.
However ‘The Dark Tower’ series is very different in many ways. It is not set in a linear world such as Tolkien’s, and neither is it all written in a fantasy style. Instead, King creates a world of apocalyptic size as the tale weaves from the western-styled ‘Mid World’ (where most of the series is set) to a contemporary USA and back again. And if this is not big enough for you, the concept of different planes in the same time-scale is also woven into the narrative. Fantasy is interwoven with horror and contemporary thriller styles to create an eclectic multi-genre epic. Simply wow.
The size of the epic has resulted in there being seven books in ‘The Dark Tower’ series. These were written over a 22 year period matching its scale. The books are:
The Gunslinger (1982)
The Drawing of the Three (1987)
The Waste Lands (1991)
Wizard and Glass (1997)
Wolves of Kalla (2003)
Song of Susannah (2004)
The Dark Tower (2004)
In addition, the author released an eighth book, ‘The Wind through the Keyhole,’ in 2012. This instalment is chronologically set between books 4 and 5.
Unsurprisingly, first edition copies of these books are attracting high prices, particularly signed and limited first edition versions of the first three books. Should a screen version be made, it is likely that these values would increase.
I know that, as a book lover, I should worry that such a screen adaptation would not do the book series justice. However, in this case, I really do think that the viewing world would be missing out on a potential masterpiece should a screen version not come to fruition.
It could even be a series to rival the popularity of ‘A Game of Thrones’……