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The Dark Tower is a series of seven books written by American author Stephen King between 1970 and 2004. The series incorporates themes from multiple genres, including fantasy fiction, science fantasy, horror and western elements. They describe a gunslinger's quest toward a tower whose nature the books call both physical and metaphorical. King has described the series as his magnum opus; besides the seven novels that compose the series proper, many of his other books relate to the story, introducing concepts and characters that come into play as the series progresses.

The series was chiefly inspired by the poem "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" by Robert Browning, whose full text was included in the final volume's appendix. In the preface to the revised 2003 edition of The Gunslinger, King also identifies The Lord of the Rings, the Arthurian Legend, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly as inspirations. He identifies Clint Eastwood's "Man with No Name" character as one of the major inspirations for Roland. King's style of location names in the series, such as Mid-World, and his development of a unique language abstract to our own, are also influenced by J. R. R. Tolkien's work.

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Gunslingers are fictional characters in author Stephen King�s The Dark Tower series. Protectors of the Way of the Eld, also known as the Way of the White, Gunslingers endure rigorous physical and mental training before earning the sandalwood-gripped guns they wear.

Gunslingers begin their training in the grassy yard behind the Great Hall. Their teachers, Cort and Vannay, teach them many things, including military tactics, gunplay, hand-to-hand combat, tracking, hunting, hypnotism, science and magic.

Gunslingers also must memorize the Gunslinger Litany, which is as follows: �I do not aim with my hand; he who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father. I aim with my eye. I do not shoot with my hand; he who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father. I shoot with my mind, I do not kill with my gun; he who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father. I kill with my heart.� (Furth)

To prove themselves, trainees must battle Cort in the grassy yard and defeat him. They are required to enter from a gate to the west. If they are successful, they are given the nickel-plated revolvers of a first-year Gunslinger and allowed to leave through the gate to the east as men. If they fail, they are sent back through the gate to the west in exile, never to see their families or friends again.



Flamini, Anthony. The Dark Tower: Gunslinger's Guidebook. Marvel Publishing, Inc., 2007.

Furth, Robin. Stephen King�s The Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance. Scribner, 2006. ISBN 0743297342

King, Stephen. The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book I, Revised). Viking Adult, 2003. ISBN 0670032549


  1. The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger (1982)
  2. The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three (1987)
  3. The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands (1991)
  4. The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass (1997)
  5. The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla (2003)
  6. The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah (2004)
  7. The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower (2004)


Each book in the series was originally published in hardcover format with a number of full-color illustrations spread throughout. Each book contained works by a single illustrator only. Subsequent printings of each book in trade paperback format usually preserve the illustrations in full, except for books I and IV. Pocket-sized paperback reprints contain only black-and-white chapter or section header illustrations.The illustrators who worked on each book are:

  1. Michael Whelan, multiple award-winning science fiction and fantasy painter. The Dark Tower is among his early notable works.
  2. Phil Hale, the only Dark Tower illustrator who created a second set of illustrations for a later printing of the book he illustrated.
  3. Ned Dameron.
  4. Dave McKean, graphic designer noted for working in many media, including photography and film. The only Dark Tower illustrator to work in photocollages.
  5. Bernie Wrightson, established illustrator for 1960s and 1970s horror comics.
  6. Darrel Anderson, the only Dark Tower illustrator who used digital illustration techniques.
  7. Michael Whelan, returning more than 20 years later as the only recurring Dark Tower illustrator.

Other media

Offshoot books

The series has prompted related non-fiction books by authors besides King. Robin Furth Stephen King's The Dark Tower: A Concordance, an encyclopedia-style companion to the series that she originally wrote for King's personal use. Bev Vincent has published The Road to The Dark Tower: Exploring Stephen King's Magnum Opus, a book containing back story, summary and analysis. Stephen King has endorsed both books. has published the two-volume

Prequel comic series

Main article: The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born

A prequel to the Dark Tower series, set around the time of the flashbacks in The Gunslinger and Wizard and Glass, has been released by Marvel Comics. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born is plotted by Robin Furth, scripted by Peter David, and illustrated by Jae Lee and Richard Isanove. The project is overseen by King. The first issue of this first arc was released on February 7, 2007. A hardcover volume containing all 7 issues was released on November 7, 2007.

The second arc in the Dark Tower comic series was released by Marvel Comics, and it is called The Long Road Home. The first issue was published on March 5, 2008.

The third arc in the Dark Tower comic series will be released by Marvel Comics on September 10, 2008. It will be called The Dark Tower: Treachery.

Film adaptation

IGN Movies has reported that a film adaptation is in the works; whether it is for a movie or a television series is unknown. J. J. Abrams, who has been behind shows such as LostAlias, is supposedly attached to produce and direct. Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, also affiliated with Lost and J. J. Abrams, have optioned the Dark Tower series from King for a reported nineteen dollars, which of course, is the infamous number from the Dark Tower series of novels.[6] According to issue #923 of Entertainment Weekly, King "is an ardent supporter of the desert-island show and trusts Abrams to translate his vision" into a film franchise with Lindelof being "the leading candidate to write the screenplay for the first installment."

Roland as depicted in the opening credits of another Stephen King movie The Mist.

Roland as depicted in the opening credits of another Stephen King movie The Mist.

Multiple mock trailers have popped up on Youtube. Also, the official Grand Prize winner of Simon & Schuster's (King's Publisher) American Gunslinger contest, "Roland Meets Brown", by Robert David Cochrane, can be found there.

In King's 2007 film The Mist, the main character David Drayton can be seen painting a movie poster with Roland in the center, standing in front of a trans-dimensional Ironwood door, with a rose and the dark tower to each side.

In February 2008, Abrams announced that he and Lindelof had begun work on an early draft for the adaptation.

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