Stop killing my favorite character over and over again!

7 Aug

I just finished listening to my third book on tape, and it was quite a glorious event. It marked my first departure from Harry Potter audiobooks, and like those first two, I had read this book before.

It was “The Gunslinger,” the first book in Stephen King’s seven-book “The Dark Tower” series.

I finished reading this series on Easter day in 2008, and I remember spending a good chunk of the day crying. (There will be spoilers here, FYI. If you don’t want to know things, go away.)

Why did I cry? Because Uncle Stevie went and killed off my favorite character, Jake Chambers.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if it had been the FIRST time he killed off poor Jake. Oh no — that was the THIRD time he kills the boy in the series. The first comes in, oh yes, “The Gunslinger.”

I had to travel about an hour north for work today, and the book on tape finished on the drive back, though Jake bit the dust (erm, fell into the river in the mountain) on the drive there.  (This was his second death. His first death occurs before we meet him, though it is described to the reader. Trust me, King makes it make sense.)

The event wasn’t as harrowing as I’d expected. Perhaps this was because Jake had only been around for four or five CDs. When he dies in “The Dark Tower,” the final book, it’s after 4,443 (yes, I just went to my books and added up the pages) pages of falling in love with everything that is Dark Tower. For this gal, I just happened to fall hardest, and furthest, for poor little thrice-dead Jake Chambers.

I opted to listen to “The Gunslinger” as opposed to read it again because, frankly, I’m not a huge fan of reading books twice. I’ll do it, sure, but there are so many fabulous books out there waiting to be read that I feel some strange form of guilt if I read something duelly. Then there’s the simple fact that, as the two Harry Potter books on tape reminded me, being read to is fabulous, especially when the reader is fabulous. “The Gunslinger” is read by George Guidall. Being new to the audiobook world, I was worried; Jim Dale reads Harry Potter impeccibly, but a book on tape read by a terrible reader? Sweet Roland, shoot me now.

But I gave it a shot because, frankly, I’ve read Steve King’s columns in “Entertainment Weekly” for years, and I seem to recall King praising the Potter audiobooks. Knowing he appreciates the artform, it was a good guess that he wouldn’t let a schlub read his stories.

To “Dark Tower” fans out there, tell me: Who’s your favorite character? Did any scenes make you cry for a day? Ever listen to them on tape? What’d you think?

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One Response to “Stop killing my favorite character over and over again!”

  1. Rachel August 9, 2009 at 9:51 am #

    Oh, you know I’m a fan. Eddie Dean was definitely my favorite — he seemed complex in a very real way, and I like that shot of reality in a completely fictional world. But I agree with the fact that Jake’s multiple deaths were just gut-wrenching.

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