Stephen King is one of America’s most prolific authors. But among his massive body of novels, short stories, and screenplays, The Dark Tower stands out. Widely considered King’s masterpiece, The Dark Tower is an eight book series that follows Roland of Gilead, the last of the gunslingers, on his quest to find the mysterious Dark Tower. It combines high fantasy, science fiction and post-modernism and leaves the reader feeling completely bewildered and transformed.
The Dark Tower ties many different King books together. Some references are essential parts of the story, while others are merely seen once and tossed away. While it isn’t necessary to have read his other books before The Dark Tower, knowing the backstory adds richness to the series.
After years in purgatory, plans of a movie were finally announced this year. Starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, The Dark Tower movie adaptation is set to be released in February 2017. However, before you buy your ticket, check out these other Stephen King books and see if you can find the connections between The Dark Tower and his other works!
(Note that I’m not including any Dark Tower books on here. These are just some of the books whose narratives tie into the series.)
1. The Stand
The super-flu is unleashed, bringing about the end of civilization as we know it. The survivors are called through dreams to the saintly Mother Abigail or the sadistic Randall Flagg. Once the groups are assembled, it is time for humanity to make its final stand against evil.
2. ‘Salem’s Lot
This novel is totally Dracula in small-town Maine. Author Ben Mears returns to the small town of ‘Salem’s Lot as it is being infiltrated by vampires. As his friends and fellow citizens are transformed, he teams up with the last few holdouts in order to stop the evil forces taking over their home.
This one is a deviation from King’s usual horror. It is high fantasy, set in a different part of the same Mid-World as The Dark Tower. The wizard Flagg pulls the strings in the royal family, securing his power through manipulation of the boy-king Thomas. But Thomas’s brother Peter, imprisoned long ago, is coming to take back what is rightfully his.
Thirty years ago, a group of kids were terrorized by an unnamed evil in their small town. Now it’s back for vengeance and as adults, they have to regroup to defeat this sadistic being once and for all. It is a massive story, both in terms of complexity and size, and is one of Stephen King’s most famous works.
5. The Shining
Jack Torrance and his family will be spending the winter isolated at the Overlook Hotel. Jack, while working as the hotel’s caretaker, finds himself and his sanity at the mercy of supernatural forces within the hotel. Meanwhile, Jack’s son Danny discovers there may be a touch of the supernatural within himself as well.
These are only a handful of Stephen King’s vast body of intertwined works and only some of many that are referenced in The Dark Tower. Since all things serve the beam, these stories come together to form the foundation on which The Dark Tower is built.
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