From the TBR Shelf #48: The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three (1987) by Stephen King

Ok, everybody's fired for not having made me read the Dark Tower series before now.

Just kidding. I know you guys are just trying to manage your own tottering TBR piles!

So: The Drawing of the Three. King picks up the thread from The Gunslinger and launches us into an entirely different world, one in which Roland can move back and forth between his own and that of our reality. He can even move through time, and that's how he picks up the people who become his companions on the way to the Dark Tower.

In the previous novel, the Man in Black had used tarot cards to show Roland what his future holds. "The Prisoner," "The Lady of Shadows," and "Death" were drawn, and it is this trio that King explores in The Drawing of the Three. Each of Roland's encounters occurs when he walks through a free-standing door on the beach that he's reached after leaving the Man in Black. But this is no peaceful, sunny beach- nope, it's filled with venomous, carnivorous lobster-things that bite off two of Roland's fingers and inject him with poison.

Near death, Roland sees the first door as a potential life-saver and jumps through it- into 1980s New York and the mind of Eddie Dean , "The Prisoner." A junkie and drug mule, Eddie at first believes that he's hallucinating when he hears another person speaking to him inside his own mind. Once he understand that he's not, in fact, going insane, and that Roland is using him to procure medicine to combat the lobster-poison, Eddie helps Roland, while Roland helps Eddie avoid the authorities and ditch the drugs he was carrying for the mob. Ultimately, Roland brings Eddie into his world permanently.

"The Lady of Shadows" is Odetta Holmes/Detta Walker, a black Civil Rights activist living in the 1960s who lost her legs when someone pushed her into an oncoming train. She is living with two personalities in the same mind that won't acknowledge one another, a condition brought on in her case by head trauma when she was young. When Roland brings Odetta/Detta into his world, Detta (the rag-filled, murderous personality) tries to kill Roland and Eddie at every opportunity, but ultimately fails.

When the three finally reach the third door, Roland jumps into the mind of a murderer, Jack Mort, who just so happens to be connected to Odetta/Detta...but I won't spoil that for you.

What made The Drawing of the Three so gripping was King's description of this mental joining. Each time Roland moves through the door and into the mind of another person, that person's eye-color changes to the blue of Roland's eyes. Those who happen to notice this change are very freaked out, but can't be sure that they saw what they thought they saw. Further, each person's reaction to Roland's invading consciousness is strikingly different: Eddie resists but finally acknowledges and even works with Roland's consciousness; Detta fights it; and Jack Mort does the mental version of curling up into a ball and wailing in fear and helplessness. But from all of these people, Roland gets what he needs (aspirin and penicillin) to survive the ongoing trek to the Tower.

I've just started The Waste Lands, and will only say that there's a cyborg involved...(!!!)

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