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«Wizard and Glass», Wizard and Glass

By now Eddie and Susannah are no longer prisoners in Roland's world. In love and well on the way to becoming gunslingers themselves, they are full participants in the quest and follow him willingly along the Path of the Beam.

In a speaking ring not far from the Portal of the Bear, time is mended, paradox is ended, and the real third is at last drawn. Jake reenters Mid-World at the conclusion of a perilous rite where all four—Jake, Eddie, Susannah, and Roland—remember the faces of their fathers and acquit themselves honorably. Not long after, the quartet becomes a quintet, when Jake befriends a billy-bumbler. Bumblers, which look like a combination of badger, raccoon, and dog, have a limited speaking ability. Jake names his new friend Oy.

The way of the pilgrims leads them toward Lud, an urban wasteland where the degenerate survivors of two old factions, the Pubes and the Grays, carry on the vestige of an old conflict. Before reaching the city, they come to a little town called River Crossing, where a few antique residents still remain. They recognize Roland as a remnant of the old days, before the world moved on, and honor him and his companions. After, the old people tell them of a monorail train which may still run from Lud and into the wastelands, along the Path of the Beam and toward the Dark Tower.

Jake is frightened by this news, but not really surprised; before being drawn away from New York, he obtained two books from a bookstore owned by a man with the thought-provoking name of Calvin Tower. One is a book of riddles with the answers torn out. The other, Charlie the Choo-Choo, is a children's book about a train. An amusing little tale, most might say . . . but to Jake, there's something about Charlie that isn't amusing at all. Something frightening. Roland knows something else: in the High Speech of his world, the word char means death.

Aunt Talitha, the matriarch of the River Crossing folk, gives Roland a silver cross to wear, and the travellers go their course. Before reaching Lud, they discover a downed plane from our world—a German fighter from the 1930s. Jammed into the cockpit is the mummified corpse of a giant, almost certainly the half-mythical outlaw David Quick.

While crossing the dilapidated bridge which spans the River Send, Jake and Oy are nearly lost in an accident. While Roland, Eddie, and Susannah are distracted by this, the party is ambushed by a dying (and very dangerous) outlaw named Gasher. He abducts Jake and takes him underground to the Tick-Tock Man, the last leader of the Grays. Tick-Tock's real name is Andrew Quick; he is the great-grandson of the man who died trying to land an airplane from another world.

While Roland (aided by Oy) goes after Jake, Eddie and Susannah find the Cradle of Lud, where Blaine the Mono awakes. Blaine is the last above-ground tool of the vast computer-system which lies beneath the city of Lud, and it has only one remaining interest: riddles. It promises to take the travellers to the monorail's final stop if they can solve a riddle it poses them. Otherwise, Blaine says, the only trip they'll be taking will be to the place where the path ends in the clearing … to their deaths, in other words. In that case they'll have plenty of company, for Blaine is planning to release stocks of nerve-gas which will kill everyone left in Lud: Pubes, Grays, and gun-slingers alike.

Roland rescues Jake, leaving the Tick-Tock Man for dead … but Andrew Quick is not dead. Half blind, hideously wounded about the face, he is rescued by a man who calls himself Richard Fannin. Fannin, however, also identifies himself as the Ageless Stranger, a demon of whom Roland has been warned by Walter.

Roland and Jake are reunited with Eddie and Susannah in the Cradle of Lud, and Susannah—with a little help from "dat bitch" Detta Walker—is able to solve Blaine's riddle. They gain access to the mono, of necessity ignoring the horrified warnings of Blaine's sane but fatally weak undermind (Eddie calls this voice Little Blaine), only to discover that Blaine means to commit suicide with them aboard. The fact that the actual mind running the mono exists in computers falling farther and farther behind them, running beneath a city which has become a slaughtering-pen, will make no difference when the pink bullet jumps the tracks somewhere along the line at a speed in excess of eight hundred miles an hour.

There is only one chance of survival: Blaine's love of riddles. Roland of Gilead proposes a desperate bargain. It is with this bargain that The Wastelands ends; it is with this bargain that Wizard and Glass begins.

  • romeo: Lady, by yonder blessed moon I vow,
  • That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops—
  • juliet: O, swear not by the moon, th' inconstant moon,
  • That monthly changes in her circled orb,
  • Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
  • romeo: What shall I swear by?
  • juliet: Do not swear at all.
  • Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,
  • Which is the god of my idolatry,
  • And I'll believe thee.

Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare


On the fourth day, to [Dorothy's] great joy, Oz sent for her, and when she entered the Throne Room, he greeted her pleasantly.

"Sit down; my dear. I think I have found a way to get you out of this country."

"And back to Kansas?" she asked eagerly.

"Well, I'm not sure about Kansas," said Oz, "for I haven't the faintest notion which way it lies…."

—The Wizard of Oz L. Frank Baum


  • I asked one draught of earlier, happier sights,
  • Ere fitly I could hope to play my part.
  • Think first, fight afterwards—the soldier's art:
  • One taste of the old time sets all to rights!

Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came

Robert Browning




Иллюстрация к книге

"ASK ME A RIDDLE," Blaine invited.

"Fuck you," Roland said. He did not raise his voice.

"WHAT DO YOU SAY?" In its clear disbelief, the voice of Big Blaine had become very close to the voice of its unsuspected twin.