Monday, April 27, 2015
Castle Rock Companion - The Dark Tower supplemental: The Little Sisters of Eluria and Everything's Eventual
After finishing Wizard and Glass, another break can be taken before continuing through the series. The main recommendations I saw for reading before continuing on are the two short stories "The Little Sisters and Eluria" and "Everything's Eventual," both of which can be found in the short story collection titled Everything's Eventual (back to back no less) as well as the novel Insomnia. If you've never read Salem's Lot or Hearts in Atlantis, now would also be a good time to cover those as well. As for now, I'm putting off Insomnia, which doesn't entirely connect to the series until book 7 anyway.
The Little Sisters of Eluria
This is a story about Roland's encounter with vampire nuns in a deserted town while following the Man in Black. So it technically happens before The Gunslinger, but makes so many references to the story that Roland tells in Wizard and Glass that it makes sense to read it here rather than before The Gunslinger. It's fairly short, but the characters are vivid, both the frightening older vampire women and the reluctant young one who is part of their band. It's a fairly brief tale, and not entirely essential to understand the series, but a good one worth reading.
On the surface, this doesn't seem like a Dark Tower tale, and could very easily be taken on its own. Dinky Earnshaw has a strange special ability - when he writes a bunch of strange symbols down along with something familiar to the person reading it, they suddenly want to commit suicide. The symbols are so strange and foreign that the average person has no idea what they are, and he can literally get away with murder. He uses it very infrequently, only to silence the mean dog who pesters him on the way to school, or to get rid of the equally pestering bully who torments him. But then one day a man shows up to offer him a job, and if you've read Hearts in Atlantis, you may recognize him as one of the Low Men.
Dinky is given a house, a car, and seventy dollars a week, along with a whiteboard in the house where he can write down just about anything he could ever want, and it will be delivered to him along with his groceries. There are a few catches - he can't contact his friends anymore for one. The strangest, on the outset, is that any amount of that seventy he doesn't spend every week must be thrown away or destroyed. In exchange for this easy lifestyle, Dinky sends emails and occasionally hand written letters to whoever the company wants him to. Eventually Dinky starts to question whether or not the people he's killing are really the "bad guys" as the company told him. It becomes clear to him that the whole reason he's required to toss his money is because they don't want him making an escape, and he makes a plan to fix it. Whether or not he's successful isn't revealed within the story.
With the Low Men connection, it isn't hard to guess just who Dinky might truly be working for. It's also just a good short story, as King does a good job of introducing us to this young man and the way he is paid for his job first, then slowly revealing all the stranger details later. It helps to keep you interested as the story goes on. Wikipedia tells me that Dinky will appear in the regular series eventually, and I have to admit I don't remember where or how, but I'm looking forward to it now. He's an interesting character.
Edit now that I've finished: Dinky shows up in the last book in the series, so you could technically hold off on reading this one until then if you wanted. His story here is not exactly contradictory to where he ends up in the series, but does leave me wondering just how he got there from here. Once again, this story isn't essential reading to understand things by any means, but it is worth reading if you have a copy in easy reach.