10. The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass
Since I can remember, I have loved fantasy stories in series; or rather, I read a lot of missed series, in the hope that i would come across any that match my childhood fixations: Mary Poppins, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Indian in the cupboard. However, during the “King horror” era, he drew the idea of thousands of pages of Dark Tower series (any catatonic character again, any monster under the bed again, I thought). And then I got to read them? Well I was in a hostel, raining heavily and finished the book in its arsenal. I said I will read the first novel that I find in the hostel’s modest library – I happened to be The Gunslinger, which opens the volume.
I discovered with relief that Stephen King has put aside the usual tricks and teenage obsession to tell a story to match JRR Tolkien’s saga has not turned into a memorial embarrassing. The preamble to the actual narrative, King mustered the starting points of the story: Robert Browning’s poem, Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came, Lord of the Rings saga and the famous Sergio Leone’s Westerns, Il Buono, il Brutto, il cattivo ( 1966). Risky combination, but the author explains, hoping that his instinct will write much better than observing plans, recipes for success and deadlines.
Roland Deschain, a descendant of King Arthur, goes in search for of the dark tower out of curiosity. On the road sometimes explain that it is because his dynasty is responsible for protecting the Tower, but loyalty is no longer among his qualities – nor is humor. In the first volume, Roland knows, saves and then betrays Jake, a boy who died in a car accident in New York, finds himself exiled to the world of Deschain.
The search is not focuses on the Tower but on the enigmatic Walter, the man in black. Roland believed that he destroyed his family, but cannot realize under how many faces he met him and to what extend his magical powers reach. The confrontation of the two, at end of the volume, can be summed up as a series of ‘apparently’. Roland falls prey to illusions created by Walter, while hoping that, in fact, he defeated Walter.
The following books were written after a long period in which King abandoned the idea of ”masterpiece” that he had to leave behind. Roland discovers three magical doors through which he enters and apparently, goes form his world to our world. From here, but in different years, he chooses (although more fitting would have to say “steal”) three companions: the hero man Eddie Dean, the one that will become Susannah Dean and Jake, already passed twice through death.
Once freed from the pangs of withdrawal Eddie proves to be the clown of the series and the one that gets his friends out of difficult situations by using his chatter without substance. Susannah is suffering from a personality disorder, formerly known as the aristocrat Odetta Holmes and alternatively as gossip Detta Walker.
Jake is a true hero of the story, the one who forgives all and is ready to give his life – or lives – for his friends. They are joined in the third volume, Oy, by a pet speaker described by King as a kind of half-breed between a raccoon, a marmot and a dachshund.
The protagonists find themselves at some point in the Wizard of Oz – or, in any event, in a close version of L. Frank Baum’s story. Later, Eddie and Roland meet with … Stephen King – fictional version, but according to the original. Weapons are also indispensable quintet borrowed from various other fantastic stories and weaknesses of the characters always have to do with reading each one.
Somehow, sometime interferences between parallel worlds of the Dark Tower are symptomatic of how we try, often unconscious and maniacal, to find common ground between their experiences and those of foreign or to mentally transform the chaos of everyday consistency.
Roland’s real target is the top level of the dark tower, where, theoretically,the divinity of all worlds lives. It is suspected that there he would find the evil Red King; longer believed that there would not be anyone there. The tower is in the center of the world, it is guarded by twelve mythological creatures and it upholds the six rays that sustain reality.
As the rays falling apart, Roland’s journey becomes a race against time. Although the secondary characters seem convinced that the group of gunmen are trying to save the universe, Roland and his band are constantly aware that they are driven only by an intense curiosity.
What I would rephrase: while King seems convinced that the movement succeeded, that he wrote a masterpiece which stands over centuries of waste paper’s, I kept my suspicion that I cannot stop reading because the strength of narrative fireworks chaining the series, like Dan Brown, that keep you out of breath and leaves you feeling that you have reached (or rather, you were touched) serious issues drawn in special packaging for dilettantes. While the series is great i have placed the 5th book on my top 10, enjoy.
9. Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption
“I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone. I guess I just miss my friend.”
In 1946, Andy Dufresne, a successful banker but very reserved is wrongly convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. He received two life sentences in Shawshank prison in the US state of Maine. This prison was recognized for very severe treatments by the guards. On the first night of detention, the treatment of barbaric prison chief, Captain Byron Hadley results in the death of a prisoner again.
After nearly a month, Andy befriends Red and his circle of friends. Red is a wise man inside the prison, and is known to all other convicts as “the man who knows how to get things” for them-that is contraband – for profit.
The friendship that links between Andy and Red starts after Andy asks Red as a fee to make them get an ice ax in order to maintain his hobby as an amateur geologist and collector of rocks, which then molds the rocks into chess pieces. Later, he asks Red for a poster of Rita Hayworth on the wall of his cell, replacing it over the years with those of Marilyn Monroe and Raquel Welch.
During daily work on the roof of the prison guard captain Andy hears Byron Hadley complaining of a future inheritance taxes. Andy takes the risk of being punished by Hadley’s explain how to avoid paying duties legally; Andy Hadley’s advice supports and rewards its friends with a short respite and two beers. Andy’s financial advice is sought soon by most guards at Shawshank and other nearby prisons.
Andy is given even a space to work on their financial problems under the guise of managing the prison library alongside older inmate Brooks Hatlen. Andy is capable of helping to expand the library by sending several requests to the government, which materialized after a period of time under money donations and books.
Frank Darabont has bought the film rights from Stephen King in 1987, after he was struck by a screening of his short story, “The Woman in the Room ” in a short film in 1983. Later Frank Darabont directs The Green Mile , which is an adaptation of another book by Stephen King.
8. The Dead Zone
“She suddenly realized she was sitting in an apartment by herself late at night, eating an apple and watching a movie on TV that she cared nothing about, and doing it all because it was easier than thinking, thinking was so boring really, when all you had to think about was yourself and your lost love.”
Stephen King has designed The Dead Zone as a thriller full of tension and unpredictability and dedicated this novel to his son, Owen. The novel tells the story of John Smith, an ordinary human – and otherwise suggested by its name – which sometimes has the ability to see in the future.
The story is set in 1970, where Johnny gets involved in a car accident that puts him in a coma for nearly 5 years. When he awoke, he found out that by touching people and things he can tell them information they did not know. Although those around him doubt this skill, the author shows readers that Johnny is able to do all the things that he said he is capable of doing.
John Smith tell the media about his presumed psychic powers and receives an offer to teach again, but starts to get massive migraines but a reporter writes an articles about him being a fake that gives Johnny some relief but is soon contacted by an police office to help him solve a case. Much of the novel describes Johnny spent five years in coma or recovery.
During that Smith is in a coma, King provides a snapshot of social and political events that you lost. After he comes out of coma, Johnny becomes aware of his abilities, which existed even before the car accident that put him in hospital. King novel introduces two additional actions that are happening in the background, namely the murder of Castle Rock and the rise of a politician in New Hampshire.
The first part of dead zones ends with our main character helping the police in Castle Rock Smith to discovering the murderer. On another plane, Smith sees Greg Stillson, a demagogue politician from New Hamphire on track to earn a place in Congress to finally get President of the United States, and starting a nuclear war.
At this point, John Smith encounters a dilemma: Does he have the moral right to kill a man who knows for sure if its survival would result in the death of several million people? would result in the death of several million people?
7. The Green Mile
“I’m rightly tired of the pain I hear and feel, boss. I’m tired of bein on the road, lonely as a robin in the rain. Not never havin no buddy to go on with or tell me where we’s comin from or goin to or why. I’m tired of people bein ugly to each other. It feels like pieces of glass in my head. I’m tired of all the times I’ve wanted to help and couldn’t. I’m tired of bein in the dark. Mostly it’s the pain. There’s too much. If I could end it, I would. But I can’t.”
One night in October 1995 Stephen King began writing a novel, which was later divided into six mini volumes to be printed weekly. This novel was called The Green Mile and differs much from the other novels written by King.
For those who do not know, Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine (USA) in 1947 and became famous through his novels that address horror and fantasy. But this book is not a horror novel. The action takes place in 1932 in the US, Cold Mountain, mainly a prison.
As it was customary at the time, many prison inmates performed executions, the electric chair. The events take place in the prisoners the sentenced to death wing (or sector). In this wing, the aisle (between cells), specifically flooring, was painted green and the one who was to be executed had to walk on this green hallway. For this reason King used “green miles” as the title of the novel.
One day in the wing inmates a new convicted makes his presence, an African-American named John Coffey; a person with a particular physical appearance, with muscles developed and very tall and who had been accused of raping and murdering two girls; Coffey was found with the dead girls in his arms.
But to the great surprise of the guards John is not bad or aggressive, on the contrary is gentle and shy; For this reason Paul Edgecombe (superior guards) befriends him, and soon all the guards befriend the acquirer.
John Coffey was sent to death and now awaits sentence. But even in these last weeks of his life wonderful things begin to happen; Coffey is blessed with tremendous power and that is to cure any disease, even bringing back to life dead beings (a mouse).
In the last moments of life Paul and Coffey, along with other guards find with amazement that inmate put to death, who was in the cell next door, it was the one that killed the girls. But I will not reveal the ending, because it is painful.
The Green Mile is the kind of book that leaves you impressed; I admit that I cried at the end, but this is a good book that affects you psychologically. Despite that I do not read King’s horror books, he managed to give life to a unique storie and fantastic at the same time. I recommend the book to all readers.