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The Dark Tower IV

Wizard and Glass

Book #4 of The Dark Tower
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About The Book

The fourth volume in the brilliant Dark Tower Series is “splendidly tense…rip-roaring” (Publishers Weekly)—a #1 national bestseller about an epic quest to save the universe.

In Wizard and Glass, Stephen King is “at his most ebullient…sweeping readers up in…swells of passion” (Publishers Weekly) as Roland the Gunslinger, Eddie, Susannah, and Jake survive Blaine the Mono’s final crash, only to find themselves stranded in an alternate version of Topeka, Kansas, that has been ravaged by the superflu virus. While following the deserted I-70 toward a distant glass palace, Roland recounts his tragic story about a seaside town called Hambry, where he fell in love with a girl named Susan Delgado, and where he and his old tet-mates Alain and Cuthbert battled the forces of John Farson, the harrier who—with a little help from a seeing sphere called Maerlyn’s Grapefruit—ignited Mid-World’s final war.

Filled with “blazing action” (Booklist), the fourth installment in the Dark Tower Series “whets the appetite for more” (Bangor Daily News). Wizard and Glass is a thrilling read from “the reigning King of American popular literature” (Los Angeles Daily News).

Reading Group Guide

The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass Reading Group Guide from The Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance

1. Why, do you think, did the Great Old Ones build Blaine? What purpose did he serve in their world? What do you imagine the Old Ones’ world was like?

2. While riding in Blaine, Eddie thinks to himself, Not all is silent in the halls of the dead and the rooms of ruin. Even now some of the stuff the Old Ones left behind still works. And that’s really the horror of it, wouldn’t you say? Yes. The exact horror of it. How does Eddie’s statement prefigure the coming action? Does his observation hold true for the first three novels of the series?

3. What is a thinny? What effect does it have on those near it? Is it alive? How does the image of the thinny help to bridge the two parts of Wizard and Glass—the section that takes place in Topeka and the one that takes place in Hambry?

4. Why does Roland say that in Hambry “the waters on top and the waters down below seemed to run in different directions”?

5. Ka is a wheel; its one purpose is to turn and (inevitably) repeat. In what ways have we seen the wheel of ka turn so far in the series?

6. What is the story of Lord Perth, which we learned about in The Waste Lands? How did that myth play out in the novel? How does it continue to resonate throughout Wizard and Glass? Do you think the theme of the Lord Perth tale is also one of the themes of the Dark Tower series?

7. Who is Rhea of the Cöos? What role does she play in the novel? How does she compare to Roland’s other major enemies—the Man in Black and Sylvia Pittston? If Rhea had been a male character, would she have been as convincing or as formidable? Why or why not?

8. What is the Wizard’s Rainbow? What do we know about it? How many of the balls are still in existence, and why are they said to be alive and hungry? What is the relationship between the White, which Roland and the other gunslingers serve, and the spectrum of colors that make up the Wizard’s Rainbow?

9. The imagery surrounding Maerlyn’s Grapefruit is often sexual; even its color is described as “labial pink.” Why does King use this imagery? What is the relationship between the Grapefruit and emotions such as desire, jealousy, and vengeance? How do these emotions drive the action of Roland’s Hambry adventure? How did they begin his journey into manhood, even down to the early winning of his guns?

10. How does Roland’s experience of Maerlyn’s Grapefruit differ from that ofthe other people who have it in their possession? Why do you think this is so? What visions does Roland have while the ball is in his possession? How does the ball lead to his downfall?

11. The tale of Hambry begins under a Kissing Moon and ends under a Demon Moon. Why is this significant? How does the transition from one of these moons to the other reflect the darkening of the novel’s atmosphere?

12. At the beginning of the Hambry portion of Wizard and Glass, Susan Delgado must “prove” her honesty. What does this mean? In what other ways does Susan continue to prove her honesty throughout the book? What other characters prove themselves to be honest? Which characters prove to be dishonest?

13. For if it is ka, it’ll come like a wind, and your plans will stand before it no more than a barn before a cyclone. In what ways have we seen Pat Delgado’s description of ka hold true, both in this novel and in the three preceding ones?

14. How would you describe Cuthbert Allgood? What does Roland love about him? What about him angers Roland? In what ways is he like Eddie? Is this similarity also ka?

15. What do you think the relationship is between Walter (also known as the Man in Black), Marten, Flagg, Fannin, and Maerlyn? What part do these nasty characters play in this novel?

16. In what ways does gunslinger culture actually inflame the rebellion led by Farson?

17. When Roland first meets Susan Delgado, King tells us, “Roland was far from the relentless creature he would eventually become, but the seeds of that relentlessness were there—small, stony things that would, in their time, grow to trees with deep roots . . . and bitter fruit.” Why does King tell us this? Do you agree with this assessment of Roland’s character?

18. Where do we see the sigul of the open, staring eye? Why is it so sinister? How does it connect Hambry, Topeka, and the Green Palace? What does it tell us about Roland’s world?

About The Author

© Shane Leonard

Stephen King is the author of more than sixty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Fairy Tale, Billy SummersIf It BleedsThe InstituteElevationThe OutsiderSleeping Beauties (cowritten with his son Owen King), and the Bill Hodges trilogy: End of WatchFinders 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 TowerItPet Sematary, and Doctor Sleep 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. 

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (May 3, 2016)
  • Length: 928 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501143557

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Raves and Reviews

"King at his most ebullient…sweeps readers up in and swells of passion."

– Publishers Weekly

"Blazing action."

– Booklist

"As compelling as ever."

– Kirkus

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