“Hey, the new The Dark Tower trailer came out today. There are some really great The Dark Tower tattoos out there. We should probably write a little piece on it” our editor said in a Slack channel.
“He who speaks without an attentive ear is mute,” they say.
The Dark Tower is a genre-defining novel series by arguably the most popular genre writer of modern time, Stephen King. Sure, the guy is probably known to most for his horror epics, many of which have found successful film and television adaptations, but for most book nerds, nothing he’s written is as appealing as The Dark Tower series. It’s also a series that he himself considers his greatest work.
Honestly, fuck Carrie, fuck It, fuck The Shining, and fuck Salem’s Lot. They’re all solid books, but none of them touch The Dark Tower. Under the Dome was kind of shitty as a book, but is abject garbage as a TV series. Needful Things is “meh”. Most everything King wrote after 2000 was a cash grab (barring the late additions to the series we’re discussing depending on your point of view) and few of them are worth the paper they’re printed on. (Editor’s Note: I like the book he wrote about the Red Sox, but I was called a philistine for not reading these books, so what do I know?)
The Dark Tower series is where it’s at. How you rank them is a crazy internet debate that we won’t get into, but this writer personally thinks the late additions to the series are actually pretty excellent, and in some ways better than the first three books. Please argue amongst yourself in the comments, but I’m going on record to say that Wizard and Glass, book four, is actually my favorite. Come at me, nerds.
Are you new to The Dark Tower? Have you only ever heard of this because Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey are sexy as hell? Well, here’s the gist:
This is an epic (like, around 5000 pages of novel epic) story about Roland Deschain and the quest to find the Dark Tower which is essentially a building that links and protects different worlds. The other world depicted is known as Mid-World, and it’s a magical, terrifying, mostly shitty place that’s like a post-apocalyptic Wild West. Think that movie Book of Eli with Denzel Washington, but less shitty. Anyway, Roland is a magical gunslinger on a quest to find this important tower and he’ll kill anyone that gets in his way, including a bad guy known as The Man in Black. At some point a kid named Jake Chambers gets involved, and that seems to be where the film adaptation is going with this.
There’s about 8,000,000 other elements to this and trying to sum it up would be like trying to sum up Lord of the Rings, which is obviously a fool's errand. Oh, and if the vast scope of this novel isn’t clear, King actually notes Tolkien’s work as being his primary inspiration in writing this thing. The world-building is pretty crazy.
Since the 90s, people have been talking about making The Dark Tower into a movie series or a TV show. It has had the comic/graphic novel treatment, and even a spin-off video game failure. After several stops and starts, there’s finally a film adaptation. It’s here. It’s… interesting? Sony Pictures doesn’t have a stellar track record right now and it’s pretty clear this isn’t a faithful adaptation of the first book in the series, The Gunslinger, but instead some sort of mashup – and that’s already pissing people off.
Bottom line? We’re pretty excited to check out the film. We’re not necessarily expecting it to be good, but we hope it is. If it’s a cinematic abortion, we’ll probably just write a few snarky posts about it and lament on how we wasted $16.75 on a ticket to see it. Yes, that is how much a ticket costs at the Regal Cinema theater in Union Square, Manhattan. (Shout out to Regal Cinema. Please send some free tickets to the Tattoodo team for this plug.)
So before Idris Elba and the rest of the cast ruin this iconic property, maybe you can get a sick The Dark Tower tattoo so you can say “I got it before the shitty movie came out”. We would support that decision.
There are a veritable fuck-ton of Dark Tower tattoos out there.