Chuggie and the Dark Tower

Here’s Stephen King:

Here’s the cover of The Gunsinger:

Well, that’s a cover of the Gunslinger. There are others, but this one’s pretty recent. Today I want to say a little about King’s Dark Tower books and how Chuggie relates to them.

Chuggie started as a kind of response to the Dark Tower series. I loved the Gunslinger (Dark Tower, book #1 for folks who might not know), and I have thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the series. I kind of want to go back through and read the books again to take a closer look at the technical side. I have a pretty high stack of books to read first, so I probably won’t be doing that soon.

King’s hero Roland is a very serious man on a very serious quest. He holds his goal firmly in mind at all times, and nearly everything he does is in pursuit of it. Roland is a man of few words, and he isn’t prone to exaggeration. He’s completely sober and clear of purpose. He isn’t completely humorless, but he doesn’t joke often. You can’t really fool Roland, either. In the end, Roland is just a man. His power comes from his determination.

Chuggie, on the other hand, isn’t quite so serious. He’s a grouch, sure, but he’s been known to break into song or poem. He doesn’t really have a quest. When we meet him in Desecration of Stagwater, he’s just trying to get south before winter. He wants a boat to sail around on, but that’s not much of a mission. Chuggie will talk your ear off if you let him. The story he tells might not have happened exactly the way he describes, if at all. He’s permanently intoxicated and has a tendency to be sidetracked by the smallest things. He often says things that are inappropriate to the situation, and likes to mess with people. In his state of perpetual inebriation, Chuggie can occasionally be tricked or manipulated. As the embodiment of Drought, he’s as old as the world he lives on. He can drink a body of water, pull at the water table, or rip the moisture from living things around him. He has terrible power that, once released, he has trouble controlling. The Big Thirst is the reason for his intoxication, you see. He found being hammered quieted the thirst, so he drank a whole bunch and then put a curse of permanence on himself.

Roland’s world is our world, a kind of alternate timeline future Earth. Chuggie’s world is its own place, called Mag Mell. It has one super-continent shaped like a hand. Roland can travel between worlds, sure, but he only comes to our world. Chuggie will be able to travel between worlds, too, but he will not come to Earth. There are too many other fun places to visit. If he ever does stop by here, it’ll probably just be for an interview, to wreck some of my stuff, or to guzzle down a bunch of my wine.

I’d love to go on, but Bugs Bunny just lit a stick of dynamite and tricked a dog into fetching it. What kind of monster could do that to a dog?! Now I have to lie down and try to forget the gruesome horror I just saw.