The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three
First edition cover
|Cover artist||Phil Hale|
|Series||The Dark Tower|
|Genre||Fantasy, horror, Science fiction, western|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|Preceded by||The Gunslinger|
|Followed by||The Waste Lands|
The Drawing of the Three is a fantasy novel by American writer Stephen King. It is the second book in The Dark Tower series, published by Grant in 1987. The series was inspired by Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came by Robert Browning. The story is a continuation of The Gunslinger and follows Roland of Gilead and his quest towards the Dark Tower. The subtitle of this novel is RENEWAL.
The book begins less than seven hours after the end of The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger after The Man in Black has described The Gunslinger's fate using tarot cards. Roland wakes up on a beach, where he is suddenly attacked by a strange, lobster-like creature, which he dubs a "lobstrosity." He kills the creature, but not before losing the index and middle finger of his right hand, and most of his right big toe; his untreated wounds soon become infected. Feverish and losing strength, Roland continues to trek north along the beach, where he eventually encounters three doors. Each door opens onto New York City at different periods in time (1987, 1964 and 1977, respectively) and, as Roland passes through these doors, he brings back the companions who will join him on his quest to the Dark Tower.
The first door (labeled "The Prisoner") brings Eddie Dean, a young heroin addict who is in the process of smuggling cocaine into New York for the drug lord Enrico Balazar. Roland brings Eddie back through the door so he can hide the cocaine and get through a customs inspection, but the agents become suspicious and subject him to a lengthy interrogation and surveillance. Balazar learns of these events and kidnaps Eddie's heavily addicted, older brother Henry in order to force Eddie to deliver the drugs. At Balazar's bar, Eddie claims he can produce the drugs from the bathroom. Eddie is strip-searched and the bathroom torn apart, but while no drugs are found, Eddie is eventually allowed to enter the bathroom completely naked and accompanied by one of Balazar's henchmen to attempt to produce the drugs. In the bathroom, Eddie forcibly drags the henchman into the Gunslinger's world. During the brief scuffle, the henchman is injured by Roland and then eaten alive by the lobstrosities. Eddie and Roland re-enter the bathroom and, overhearing that Henry has died from an accidental heroin overdose given by Balazar's men, engage in a lengthy but victorious shoot-out. While still mourning the death of his brother, Eddie decides to throw his lot in with Roland. Before the pair return through the door, they acquire some antibiotics Balazar kept in his bathroom for junkies with infected arms. With Eddie tending to him, Roland slowly recovers from his infection.
The second door (labeled "The Lady of Shadows") reveals Odetta Holmes, a black woman with dissociative identity disorder (that Eddie incorrectly labels as schizophrenia) who is active in the civil rights movement. She is wealthy and missing her legs below the knees after being pushed in front of a subway train. Odetta is completely unaware that she has an alternate personality—a violent, predatory woman named Detta Walker—that was brought on by head trauma at a young age. Roland and Eddie are forced to contend with both of these personalities when Roland forcibly abducts Odetta's body into their world, with Detta suppressing Odetta during most of their travels. Eventually Odetta returns and she and Eddie venture alone towards the final door after Roland's infection returns even stronger than before. The pair eventually find the third door (labeled "The Pusher") where Eddie leaves Odetta, armed with one of Roland's revolvers, and hurries back with her wheelchair to retrieve Roland. When they return, Odetta is gone, and Detta hides waiting to strike. After Roland enters the third door, Detta captures Eddie and uses him as bait for the lobstrosities, hoping to force Roland to come back and return her to her own world.
Instead of revealing a new companion, the third door leads Roland to Jack Mort, a sociopath who takes sadistic pleasure in injuring and killing random strangers — and the man responsible for the head trauma that created Odetta Holmes's alternate personality, the loss of Odetta/Detta's legs, and the death of Jake Chambers. Roland arrives in Jack's body just as he is about to push Jake into traffic (the event that leads to Jake's appearance in The Gunslinger), and stops him from doing so. Under Roland's control, Jack acquires medicine and ammunition that Roland needs to survive, then jumps in front of the same subway that hit Odetta/Detta years earlier. Roland returns to his world just before impact, having made sure that Odetta/Detta sees Jack's death in order to force the two personalities to confront each other. As they attempt to cancel each other out, they merge into a third, stronger personality, Susannah Dean, and she stops the lobstrosities from trying to eat Eddie.
As the group travels away from the beach, Eddie—having broken his drug addiction after a painful withdrawal—begins to fall in love with Susannah. Both owe their lives to Roland, but he is acutely aware that he may eventually need to sacrifice them to reach the Tower.
- The name of one of the main characters of the book is Odetta Holmes. Apparently, this is a direct reference to the black American singer and political activist of the movement for civil rights Odetta Holmes. According to the book, the fictional Odetta's drawing occurs in 1961. The real Odetta performed at the civil rights movement's 1963 march on Washington where she sang "O Freedom".
- In 1989, in the newspaper Castle Rock: The Stephen King Newsletter (it was published by the wife of the author's brother), King wrote that The Drawing of the Three was his children's favorite book.
- "THE DRAWING OF THE THREE (THE DARK TOWER, BOOK 2) by Stephen King". Kirkus Reviews. kirkusreviews.com. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
- "The Drawing of the Three Stephen King, Author,". Publishers Weekly. publishersweekly.com. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
- Smythe, James (9 July 2013). "Rereading Stephen King, chapter 23: The Drawing of the Three". The Guardian. theguardian.com. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
- "World mourns passing of Odetta". abc.net.au. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
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