[warning: plot spoilers]
The final volume in this interesting series is as good as the first. All the good guys and the bad buys die — including some real tear-jerking moments — except Susannah (who gives up–a very disappointing move on King’s part) and Roland. He, of course, successfully reaches the Dark Tower. As he ascends, he passes through rooms, each of which encapsulates one moment, one part of his life. When he at last reaches the top and opens the door, the horrible truth comes to him: he has done this already, perhaps an infinite number of times. He is immediately sent back to the desert, chasing the man in black (the opening scene of Gunslinger, already forgetting what he knew. King could have made this a great commentary on the curse of a character who has to relive his painful life each time the book is read anew (he is, after all, aware that he is a character), but he backs away from this by changing one detail, which implies that next time Roland goes through this, he might find redemption, or at least be one step closer. Oh well, at least it’s a positive message of perseverance and hope.