That’s true of every villain - surprised you didn’t mention Randall Flagg - clearly the most built up of any King villain, and he, Mordred and the Crimson King all turn out to be jokes.
Flagg is just a servant though, so he’s about what I expect.
He was the big bad of The Stand though, wasn’t he?
Well, he was the same character. He was working on behalf of the crimson king.
I really liked when King inserted himself into to books. Roland saved him from a car accident. The way I read it, when he IRL got hit by the car, thinking of finishing Dark Tower is what sustained him until help arrived. So he literally made himself the most important beam of the Tower. If he died, the story never finishes. Roland never gets to the Tower.
And Flagg’s death is as anti-climactic as The CK’s IMO. Mordred eats him. The end. But this partly intersects a different issue. Walter and Marten were originally different people and neither was Flagg. Having Flagg be either of them works ok but having them both be the same person felt, I dunno. Like King was rapdily trying to tie off loose ends and he just said “fuck it, they’re ALL Flagg”. Who winds up being a lot less interesting than the Walking Dude was.
That isn’t to say I need to see anything as basic as Roland killing Flagg. But there never was a final confrontation. Roland should have sent Flagg packing from the proceedings after shooting him in the right eye. It’s not really Roland’s job to kill Flagg after all. Then Flagg can be found by Thomas and Dennis (time and space have no real jurisdiction as we have seen) and go to a more fitting fate (if not end).
Marten actually was Flagg originally, but Walter (the man in Black) was a different guy, who died at the end of the gunslinger.
For some reason king retconned then into the same character after the 5th book? I have no idea why.
But remember, he isn’t dead. He just comes back again, in another incarnation. On the island? You don’t kill Flagg, you just annoy him. BTW, when I first got Gmail invites way back when, I registered Randall Flagg as my second account. I should log into it and see what kind of spam I’ve gotten.
[quote=“Timex, post:267, topic:59023”]
Marten actually was Flagg originally, but Walter (the man in Black) was a different guy, who died at the end of the gunslinger.[/quote]
King might have been planning that, but there is no mention of Randal Flagg in the original Gunslinger.
I think it’s at the end of Book IV, after Roland wraps up the flash back. Ok I can see that being something that turned a lot of people off towards the book now that I think about it. Marten and Walter being the same person was a huge “Wait, What?” moment.
It’s all the more WTF because I seem to recall that it’s clearly Flagg who snags Tick-Tock at the end of The Waste Lands (he asks Tick Tock to say “my life for you” doesn’t he?). And Walter had specifically warned Roland about this stranger. Why would you warn Roland about yourself Walter? More like Walter O’Dumb am I right? I’m sure the new version of the Gunslinger corrects the inconsistency.
Ya, I guess so, given the other books didn’t really exist. That name doesn’t show up until the Stand, I think.
Yeah, and Walter specifically tells Roland that Marten couldn’t handle what he was going to show Roland.
Presumably that conversation doesn’t happen in the new version, but I read the original version.
In the Stand, yes. That was the epilogue that was stripped from the original novel but restored in the unabridged version. But he definitely dies in the Dark Tower, and quickly without much fuss, to elevate Mordred into some sort of dire threat and fulfill King’s “King Arthur” storyline, but then Mordred gets punked too. And the Tick Tock Man. And finally the Crimson King.
They’re all remarkably fragile given they are demons, Satan, etc. Lobstrosities prove more deadly. love those fuckers.
Another thing that bugs me about King is how Randall Flagg is so inconsistently written – in the Stand, he’s essentially a anti-christ or even Satan analogue, in the ultimate battle between good and evil. A Sauron analogue, maybe, but a lot of people who just read the Stand think of him as the Devil personified. Then in Eyes of the Dragon he’s more of an evil wizard (which, again, kinda works with Sauron’s history in the Silmarillion). Then in Dark Tower, he’s…just a seducer and saboteur (Marten)…but then he’s also Walter (how the hell does that even work, other than he should have been Walter to begin with. Then he’s a rape victim whose troubled past led him down a dark road – WTF – nobody who read the Stand wanted any of that, despite probably initially being excited by his return.
This here is what killed the whole series for me. Please tell me I’m mis-remembering:
This wasn’t Roland’s first trip. But every time he reset it was at a point after he failed to bring the horn. But now suddenly he resets to a point where he can get it. This was the same problem I had with Edge of Tomorrow - all the resets went to a specific point in time until the end when it didn’t. Because reasons.
Holy shit, after reading the gunslinger, to have Roland lose a few fingers in the very beginning of drawing of the three? That was a totally “WTF?!?” moment.
Daagar, I don’t think it actually reset to the specific point mentioned. I think it reset completely. It just picked up there because we knew that it was a moment of importance, and we were able to recognize that Roland was correcting an error, giving us hope that he could potentially solve the problem.
Also, has anyone not read the books here? So we really need to talk in spoilers for a series that is decades old, and seems different from the movie? I will if necessary, but it seems cumbersome.
If someone wants a no spoilers thread, then they should create it. Too late for this one.
You know, I had managed to forget all about that. Ugh.
I think that the character of Flagg can be viewed as reasonably consistent, if you use the dark tower as the basis.
He’s a sorcerer, and a charlatan. He isn’t really immensely powerful, although he often convinces others that he is. He has limited magical powers, and uses these to manipulate others.
Take his character in the Stand, for instance. I agree that when I read it, I had the impression that he was the big bad… But upon later reflection, what exactly did he do that was so powerful? Not much. He manipulated the Vegas crew through fear, but most of what he did was pretty mundane stuff.
I would say resurrecting from ( or surviving? ) a nuclear blast from ground zero is a pretty impressive ability. Theres also the ability to project thoughts over thousands of miles and the ability to control minds remotely as well. To recall any more I would have to grab a copy of the Stand and re-read it. I disagree with the impression that he wasn’t powerful. Sure he wasn’t a fireball throwing sorcerer but the dude was powerful. At least he was in The Stand.
He had powers, to be sure, but he wasn’t godlike.
Resurrection is impressive, but could ultimately be attributed to his boss, rather than to him.
Flagg is one of my favorite villains, hands down, so it does bother me how he dies in The Dark Tower, but I thought he was a pretty good bad guy all the way up to that point. I like his back story and all that jazz.
Mordred is the worst part of The Dark Tower, hands down, followed by what Eddie and Detta turned into after he returned from his long hiatus. It’s like he was trying way too hard to write a “smart assed New Yorker and a sassy oppressed black lady” and didn’t stick to making them real or likable.
I liked the self-insert just fine, even if it was a bit corny. I like that he dealt with what was happening in his life at the time as part of the Dark Tower.
Edit: of course, to be fair, I love Flagg because of The Stand (if you haven’t read the unabridged Stand and how he deals with some of the people who disappoint him… its creepy) and how awesome that character works.