I started as a fan of The Dark Tower series late. I was a senior in college and all seven books had already been released. I never had to wait the decades-long wait many fans did, but when the series ended, I still felt the same pangs of bittersweet emptiness any good novel should impart.
I felt this way despite knowing that The Dark Tower was continued in allusion and reference in almost every other Stephen King work. Even with the intertextuality, I lamented the lack of true DT material. When Marvel released graphic novels, I thought I would be content, but alas, they fall short of the standard the novels set.
But then, last week, Stephen King announced he would be writing an 8th Dark Tower novel titled The Wind Through the Keyhole.
I cannot express how excited this makes me. Set between books four and five, The Wind Through the Keyhole should center on supporting characters that need illumination rather than Roland Deschain and his ka-tet.
What does this mean for Dark Tower nuts? Well, first of all, it is the first installment of the series since 2004 written by Stephen King himself. That’s a biggie. The graphic novels were written by Robin Furth, and while King personally oversaw the entire project, her stories just never came out to be as compelling as the originals. King stepping back into the arena is a big deal.
Also, the shift in protagonists can (and will) likely turn some people off of Book 8. For me, however, I think it is a wonderful thing. I love reading about Roland. I really do. But by the end of Book 7, I was sick and tired of Susannah, Eddie was grating on me, and Jake…well, Jake was better off dead in The Gunslinger.
The changing of the guard, so to speak, will help revitalize the setting—which is my primary interest in the series, even more so than the characters. Readers will get a deeper glimpse at Mid-World without having Roland’s story affected at all, which should help ease purists’ minds; they can read the new installment without fear of retcon. The major downside of this, however, is that there must be precious narrative time wasted acclimating us to the new protagonists.
No matter how it’s done, I can’t wait to get my hands on a first edition hardcover of The Wind Through the Keyhole.
And then, thanks to a timely email from my sister-in-law, comes the recent news that King is working out the details to write a sequel to The Shining, which might be one of King’s absolute scariest novels. Hearing that there is a potential sequel in the works makes me smile. I never was the biggest fan of little Danny Torrence (he was a wiener kid at best), but without him, I don’t see much way a sequel could work.
And then, back on the Dark Tower front, StephenKing.com is running a new project called Discordia starting November 30th. I’m not 100% sure of what it is. It looks like it could be either a new series of short videos and texts telling a new Dark Tower universe story or a Dark Tower alternate reality game (ARG) since they’ve become so popular online lately.
Like I said earlier, I’m always up for new Dark Tower material, and the trailer for Discordia has me terribly intrigued. I’m sure I’ll check it out because the last Stephen King online experiment, N is Here, impressed me a great deal. Like the comics, Discordia might not live up to the original, but at least it’s something.
So, to sum it up, right now is a good time to be a Stephen King fan. An eighth Dark Tower book, a sequel to The Shining, and a new something or other called Discordia that launches next week. Not to mention the just released epic Under the Dome that is (so far at least) every bit the spiritual successor of The Stand it was advertised to be.