The second volume in Stephen King’s #1 bestselling Dark Tower Series, The Drawing of the Three is an “epic in the making” (Kirkus Reviews) about a savage struggle against underworld evil and otherworldly enemies.
“Stephen King is a master at creating living, breathing, believable characters,” hails TheBaltimore Sun. Beginning just less than seven hours after The Gunslinger ends, in the second installment to the thrilling Dark Tower Series, Roland encounters three mysterious doorways on a deserted beach along the Western Sea. Each one enters into a different person’s life in New York—here, he joins forces with the defiant young Eddie Dean, and with the beautiful, brilliant, and brave Odetta Holmes, to save the Dark Tower.
“This quest is one of King’s best…it communicates on a genuine, human level…but is rich in symbolism and allegory” (Columbus Sunday Dispatch). It is a science fiction odyssey that is unlike any tale that Stephen King has ever written.
Reading Group Guide
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The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three Reading Group Guide from The Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance
1. How does King’s writing style change between The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three? What about his storytelling process? What are the strengths of each approach?
2. In the prologue of The Drawing of the Three, Roland has a dream in which he becomes the human embodiment of Walter’s tarot card the Sailor. Why does he consider this a good dream? What is actually happening to him, and with what results? Do you believe that this is an existential punishment for his previous actions, a violent joke played upon him by the Man in Black, or simply a chance event?
3. What is ka, and how does it affect Roland’s life? Does it seem to imply predestination? Are human beings trapped by ka, or do we retain free will?
4. Describe the three magic doors. How do they work? Does ka have anything to do with their existence?
5. What disembodied voices echo inside Roland’s mind? What part do they play in Roland’s internal monologue/dialogue? Are they forces for good or for ill? In turn, how does Roland become a voice in the minds of other people? Does this affect your interpretation of the voices inside Roland’s consciousness?
6. Unlike the action of The Gunslinger, which takes place in Roland’s world, much of the action of The Drawing of the Three takes place in our world. In fact, many of Eddie’s problems, and most of Detta/Odetta’s problems, have their roots in U.S. culture and U.S. history. What social, economic, and cultural problems of 1980s America touched Eddie Dean’s life? What longrange effect did the Vietnam War have upon Henry Dean and, in turn, upon Eddie? How did racial hatred, segregation, and then the Civil Rights Movement affect Odetta Holmes’s life? What about Detta Walker’s?
7. Why is Eddie Dean willing to put his life at risk for his brother, Henry? Does Henry deserve this kind of loyalty?
8. What, in Roland’s treatment of Eddie, shows that Roland comes from a warrior culture, not our culture? What part does patriarchal lineage play in gunslinger culture? Why would this be especially alien to Eddie?
9. Some warriors cultivate battle frenzy, using this altered state of consciousness to achieve feats that would otherwise be almost impossible. A famous historical example of this phenomenon can be found in the Norse berserkers. What is Roland’s battle frenzy like? What about Eddie’s? Is frenzy the right word?
10. Why did Odetta’s father refuse to tell her about his past? What metaphor does King use to describe Dan Holmes’s protective silence? How does Dan Holmes’s treatment of his past contribute to Odetta’s fragmentation?
11. How does Roland help to cure Odetta? Why is his timing so significant?
12. Were Jack Mort’s attacks upon Odetta racially motivated?
13.How does Roland assess the people of our world—both those he sees on the plane and those he deals with while controlling Jack Mort’s body? What does this say about the difference between a world that has “moved on” and one that has not?
14.The second section of The Drawing of the Three (the one immediately following “The Prisoner”) is entitled “Shuffle.” One of the images that King is conjuring is that of a cardsharp, shuffling a deck of cards. Why does King use this image? What kind of deck is being shuffled? What event, from The Gunslinger, does this remind us of? Why is the final section of the book entitled “Final Shuffle”?
15. The verb to draw has many meanings and can be used in many contexts. Roland, Eddie, and Detta all draw guns. Roland draws his two companions into his world. However, the verb to draw can also be used to describe the action of drawing poison from a wound so that the wound can heal. What role does this kind of drawing play in The Drawing of the Three?
16. What role does Jake play in this novel? Why is this so significant in terms of Roland’s development?
Stephen King is the author of more than sixty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes the short story collection You Like It Darker, Holly, Fairy Tale, Billy Summers, If It Bleeds, The Institute, Elevation, The Outsider, Sleeping Beauties (cowritten with his son Owen King), and the Bill Hodges trilogy: End of Watch, Finders Keepers, and Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel and a television series streaming on Peacock). His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller. His epic works The Dark Tower, It, Pet Sematary, Doctor Sleep, and Firestarter are the basis for major motion pictures, with It now the highest-grossing horror film of all time. He is the recipient of the 2020 Audio Publishers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2018 PEN America Literary Service Award, the 2014 National Medal of Arts, and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.