(Originlly written in 2006 on a much older blog)
**Spolier alert! Read past the “read more” link or the stars at your own risk!**
. . . is not what one would have expected. And mere minutes after having discovered this, I’m not as sad as I thought I would be upon finishing this 7-part series describing the adventure of Roland of Gilead, the last true Gunslinger, and his ka-tet.
I did cry as I neared the end; I cried upon reading about the reunion of Susannah, Jake and Eddie, which excluded dear Roland who I have loved most of all.
Yes, in spite of his limited imagination, in spite of some of his atrocities or maybe even because of them, I loved and continue to love him for does he not represent an unrelenting spirit that I strive for? Does his slow acceptance of love in the form of the family formed by the ka-tet of nineteen not represent one’s gradual realisation that, however much one wants or needs to be a loner, one cannot truly accomplish the greatest feats on one’s own?
Very often, when I finish a novel that is truly close to my heart, I feel a sense of longing. I feel a void, as though my life has temporarily lost all meaning.
This time, I feel a sense of serenity, albeit tinged with the bittersweetness of saying goodbye. Of course, because of the magic of the written word, I need not truly say goodbye to my dear gunslingers. I can re-visit them anytime I want and share their adventure again.
That being said, the ending of Roland’s long trek, which is not really an ending at all, is what has brought me great relief for, although he must embark on his trek again without really remembering that (those) which has (have) come before, he still has learned from it. Perhaps each successive trek brings him closer to the true clearing at the end of the path where he will finally be reunited with those he has loved: Jake, Susannah, Eddie, Oy, Susan, Steven, Gabrielle, Cuthbert, Alain, Jamie and perhaps others. Perhaps each successive trek allows him to redeem himself or to find his way deeper into his own depths, to own up to who he can truly be . . . with a little help from his friends.
And perhaps that is the case for all of us. Perhaps we do embark on trek after trek, each a variant of a previous one that accounts for previous mistakes and allows us to fulfill ourselves and explore our potential contributions to the world(s) that we inhabit. Perhaps the suffering, pain and regret that we bear and that we deal out are not in vain.
The last pages spent with the Gunslinger, dear Roland (to the Dark Tower Came), has brought this to my attention once again.
Long days and pleasant nights.
(NOTE: This is all in reference to Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.)