The Dark Tower XIX: The Nineteenth Cycle >>>Original dedication (by Stephen King):
To ED FERMAN who took a chance on these stories, one by one
To Roland Deschain, to show that you do learn
On Endings and HeroesEdit
Every journey comes to an end. It's an envitable fact of journeys; although we love the journeys, the ending is always creeping on the horizon, much like a lobstrocity. Whether this ending being the one our hearts were hoping for, and abrupt end, a tragic end, in the end there is going to be one. Whether we like it or not.
When I first read The Dark Tower Series, upon reaching The Dark Tower with Roland Deschain, I almost heeded Stephen King's warning: turn back and have the happy ending we have. My holding back didn't last long, and soon, I was climbing the Tower stairs with Roland, seeing the levels of his life. Why did I continue on? I thought to myself. I knew something forebiding was awaiting us on the top of the Tower. The atmosphere just felt so wrong. But I knew why I carried on, it was as Stephen King said, no matter how much we love the journey, we still are too curious and crave that ending. So I continued to climb.
Here we saw Susan- the girl from the window- burning at the stake. We saw Roland's Mother whom he killed in trickery. I saw much, that much I say true, and then we reached the top. This was it, this was what Roland had waited so long for: the top of the Tower. Roland sacraficed much, and destroyed much to get here, would he finally have the redemption that he had travelled so long to obtain?
I certainly hoped so, no matter what the sins past, Roland deserved it. He worked his way here, and athough he was rather heartless at times on the way, he learned. After Roland's destruction of innocence at the hands of Marten Broadcloak and the events in The Mejis, Roland ventured far from the path of the White several times, killing and sacraficing. However, his ka-tet taught him how to be human again: how to laugh, how to love, how to truly put heart into the journey and the fighting. Roland truly was a hero. A hero that reached what he saught, he truly did deserve it. He turned the knob, the desert glarred before him and everything went white.
And so Roland is back in the Mohaine Desert, and the quest for the Tower continues. Now I'm not saying this is a completely bad ending for our hero, as he does reach his goal, and his quest is the ultimate heroic act: to repeat saving the worlds again and again, never giving up. However, Roland needs salvation, otherwise he not only acts as a hero, but as the ultimate pawn piece. Whose pawn is the question that remains? Was it Flagg? Was it Stephen King? Or perhaps even Gan or the Tower himself/it's self?
Roland possessing the Horn at the end of Volume VII holds great significance. This means Roland has changed, the quest has changed. Now what changed can be found in the tale of Jericho Hill. Cuthbert asked Roland to take the Horn initally, but Roland refused out of ignorance and indifference for Cuthbert. This time, however, Roland values Cuthbert's request and takes the Horn. This shows Roland's change in heart, his newy found kindness, no matter the dark times.
This holds great significance, not only cause Roland had changed, but because the Horn was supposed to be the main sign brought to the Tower, and Roland was to blow it there.
Of Cycles and ChangesEdit
And so the smallest change can impact an array of events, the hero may redeem himself yet. Flagg was smart, but Flagg was also arrogant and a major ka-mai at times. When Flagg says Roland doesn't learn or remember the last time, this is a false truth. Roland remembers, at least some part, which is why when he goes through the cycle he has sensations of de ja vu, and can make some descisions based on instinct.
The cycle changes everytime, Roland adding on from the last one to correct the mistakes of his past and slowily reach redemption. Ka may be a wheel, but wheels can break spokes. The storyline holding that wheel together may break and change, allowing the wheel itself to spin differently.
So, without any further argument, the Nineteenth Cycle begins.
And the Tower is closer...