Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tull and "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome": An Odd but Accurate Comparison

When reading King's description of Tull, I had one of those "tip-of-the-tongue" moments. It reminded me strongly of someplace I'd read about or seen before. It's been niggling at my brain for awhile, and it finally hit me: Bartertown in the 1985 film Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.

King describes "leering, empty shanties where the people had either moved on or had been moved along" and "an occasional dweller's hovel, given away by a single flickering point of light in the dark" as where people in the dying (until Roland arrives ... shortly thereafter, of course, it's dead) town do the best living they can.

My brother was obsessed with Mad Max. Because his fascinations quickly became those of my sister and me and because he was older, I spent a lot of time watching Thunderdome. A lot of time. I haven't seen it for awhile, but I well remember the depressing, dying, seemingly close to abandoned outskirts of Bartertown as Mel Gibson in the title role entered the depressing city limits.

King describes Tull as "pass-on-by country" (and, more metaphorically I suppose, "a shoddy jewel in a cheap setting"), and I'd argue that the same can be said for Bartertown.

Interesting that the written word can bring up visions so clear of the fruits of someone else's imagination, all within the human brain ... particularly when you consider that this particular human brain hasn't seen Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome for at least fifteen years and might never have spared it more than a passing thought for the rest of my life had I not been giving The Gunslinger such a close and careful rereading. Pretty amazing, when you think about it : )

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Roland Can Take Anything ... Except the Fact that he Might be Nuts

While taking a pee into Brown's cornfield, Roland's paranoia takes over a bit. He realizes that the Man in Black has drawn him here, had wanted him to stop and visit with Brown. This epiphany leads him to wonder whether or not Brown is actually the Man in Black himself in disguise.

He quickly discounts this notion as pointless and needlessly upsetting thoughts. To think in this way would be flirting with insanity, with someone completely off the deep end, and the "only contingency he had not learned how to bear was the possibility of his own madness."

Why does Roland fear madness in himself? Is it because he's sub-consciously aware that the seeds have been planted, sown, and are ripe for the reaping? Does he feel that madness would prevent him from completing his mission?

I think that maybe madness is necessary for Roland's completion of his mission. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"I Think This is It"

The border dweller Brown has an interesting response when Roland asks if he believes in an afterlife: "I think this is it."

Roland's question came about following his observation of Brown's eating habits, notably the blessings the dweller offered to rain, health, and expansion of spirit. It seems that Roland was surprised at the prospect of Brown being, at least on some level, a man of faith.

It seems obvious (considering that I've read the entire series more times than is probably healthy for anyone) that Roland was aware of Brown's connection to the Manni. Brown admitted to living with the Manni for a time but deciding it was "no life for me" since the group was always "looking for holes in the world."

Holes in the world ... definitely something Roland was well aware of. Taking this into consideration, it made me wonder how Roland felt about Brown's view of his current reality as some sort of an afterlife.