It’s hard to write these re-read reviews without thinking back to the first time I read the book. I remember being on vacation on Cape Cod when I read The Drawing of the Three the first time. If there is one Stephen King book that should be read on the beach it’s this one, or possibly Duma Key. I went through this book as fast this time as I did that first time.
The end of The Gunslinger (check out my review HERE) sets up the story perfectly and once you get to the end of that first book, King has you hooked and you’ve got to keep going. And if I’m being honest, from the beginning of this book until the first 100 or so pages of Wizard and Glass it feels like one incredibly long novel. A bit of time skips between the end of Drawing and the beginning of The Wastelands but the drawing is really not complete until Eddie draws Jake in the Wastelands consequently, the Wastelands story is not really complete until the ka-tet defeats Blaine and has the standoff with the Tick-Tock Man at the beginning of Wizard and Glass. I may be getting ahead of myself, but the point is it’s hard to talk about the Drawing of the Three without mentioning what comes after. I will do my best to keep it to this book but as you’ve already seen, there are spoilers abound.
For me, the real story of the Dark Tower starts in this book. Roland is the Gunslinger and the main protagonist of the story, but Eddie, Susannah, Jake and even Oy are equally important to the story and, though we meet Jake in The Gunslinger, his true quest for the Tower begins toward the end of the second book.
Re-reading a book after twenty plus years, is a strange experience. I remember the basic plot lines and what happened in the book, but many details are forgotten with time. The scene that I remember though, the one that stuck out to me the most during my first reading and the one I looked forward to when I started the book this time around was the shootout out with Eddie and Roland at Balazar’s bar. Roland, while a great character, is a hard character to connect with. He is cold and, though he shows signs of change, ultimately single-minded in his quest for the Tower. That lack of connection made me love the character of Eddie right from the very beginning. It didn’t matter that when I first met him he was a drug smuggler trying to get cocaine into New York, he was from a familiar world and with his constant wise cracking, was the opposite of the humorless Roland. The first time Eddie quickly became my favorite character and again this time I latched on to him immediately. When Eddie and Roland shoot their way into Balazar’s bar and make it to the bathroom and then finally on to the beach in Roland’s world, there was a sense of victory. In many ways,
The drawing of Eddie, “The Prisoner” is the first in a long line of victories for Roland on his way to the Tower. Prior to this we have only seen Roland more in defeat than in victory. Though he catches the Man in Black in The Gunslinger, Jake’s death prior to that makes this victory seem more like a defeat to the reader. When Eddie comes into Roland’s world it is a victory and the quest for the Tower has truly begun.
Following the drawing of Eddie, Roland eventually draws Odetta/Detta the character that eventually becomes Susannah Dean. Susannah goes through the most changes during the series, first getting rid of her multiple personalities and settling on a new personality, Susannah, and later on encountering another dual personality when Mia joins her to help give birth to Mordred. If there is one thing that I was shocked at this time it was the speed with which Eddie and Susannah fall in love. It was not a gradual thing, but instead known by both of them almost immediately. This is mirrored later in the epilogue of the final book.
Finally Roland uses the third door, not to draw the third member of the ka-tet, but instead to save his life and help Susannah face her two separate identities. This then causes a duality in both Roland and Jake that is one of the more fascinating and well written parts of the entire series. We will discuss that more in my next review when I discuss The Wastelands. Until then, long day and pleasant nights.