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Revisiting The Eyes of the Dragon by Richard Chizmar

THAT WAS THEN…

Nicely, this must be a simple one.

Once I started this journey many months ago, I admitted that there have been two Stephen King books I had by no means learn before. I purposely stored both titles a secret, promising to only let the cat outta the bag once I had reached every of the two books on my Stephen King Revisited record.

Roadwork was the first of the pair, and regardless of its overwhelmingly darkish nature and (at occasions) tough prose, I tremendously loved that initial studying and regretted not doing so earlier.

And so now, women and gents, we come to the ultimate Stephen King ebook I’ve one way or the other managed to never crack open: The Eyes of the Dragon.

My reasoning these previous almost thirty years was easy (and clearly misguided; however more on that later): Eyes of the Dragon, huh? It sounds a bit of too fantasy-oriented for my tastes. Castles. Dragons. Kings and Queens. Heck, there are in all probability a dozen characters with names I can’t even pronounce. And elves, I guess you anything there are elves operating round a darkish forest. And fairies dwelling up in the treetops. And…

…and no thanks. I’ll cross for now and get round to it at some point. When I’ve nothing else tempting to read.

However I by no means did.

Originally revealed in 1987, my brand new hardcover copy of The Eyes of the Dragon remained high on my bookshelf. Untouched. Unread.

Until now.

* * *

THIS IS NOW…

An admission before we get started: even now, in any case these years, I nonetheless had reservations. I nonetheless had doubts.

I even discovered myself emailing Steve one morning in early Might and mentioning my wariness in passing and asking (in a hopeful moment) if there have been at the very least perhaps quite a bit of cool dragons in the ebook.

Steve answered one thing to the impact of, “Well, actually, there’s only one dragon, Rich, and it dies right in the beginning of the book.”

My mind instantly flashed a warning siren: Son of a bitch! I knew it!

Nonetheless, later that week, I picked up and began studying The Eyes of the Dragon. Cool dragons or no cool dragons, I had a job to do.

And, man oh man, am I glad I did it!

I didn’t know what I was lacking all these years.

After a fairly sluggish opening act, I discovered I couldn’t put the e-book down. Fantasy or not, The Eyes of the Dragon features all the Stephen King logos we’ve come to anticipate and cherish: an enormous forged of believable characters, an exquisite sense of place and time, and a bullet-fast narrative drive (King’s brief chapters propelling us ahead in breathless style).

I instantly felt sympathetic affection for the ageing and hapless (to not point out bow-legged and insecure) King Roland and fell in love together with his good-hearted son, Peter. I instantly loathed the mysterious magician Flagg and felt pity for the tragic Thomas. As I turned more pages, I got here to know the Kingdom of Delain in addition to Fort Rock or Derry or the small town during which I grew up.

Most significantly, as I turned the pages, I came to consider. As ordinary, King had labored his unique mix of sorcery, and it had all turned actual to me.

I was someplace near the midway level of the novel once I realized something else: The Eyes of the Dragon is Stephen King channeling William Shakespeare.

Don’t snigger; give it some thought!

The story is completely Shakespearean in its panorama and scope. We now have ghostly visions and foreboding goals. Double-crossing villains and wrongly imprisoned heroes and dark secret passages that look upon a King’s lair. We’ve treachery and secrets and techniques and deceit galore. Balancing the scale, we have now wisdom and courage and loyalty. All this wrapped up in a timeless ancestral energy wrestle.

A couple of of my favourite moments…

Chapter 17, where we get a correct introduction to the evil and timeless Flagg:

Typically the individuals of Delain referred to as him Flagg the Hooded; typically simply the darkish man—for, in spite of his white corpse’s face, he was a dark man indeed. They referred to as him nicely preserved, however they used the time period in a approach that was uneasy slightly than complimentary.

He had, in reality, come to Delain typically. He got here underneath a unique identify each time, but all the time with the similar load of woe and misery and dying. This time he was Flagg. The time before he had been generally known as Bill Hinch, and he had been the King’s Lord High Executioner. Though that time was 2 hundred and fifty years past, his was a name mothers nonetheless used to frighten their youngsters once they have been dangerous. “If you don’t shut up that squalling, I reckon Bill Hinch will come and take you away!” they stated. Serving as Lord Excessive Executioner beneath three of the bloodiest Kings in Delain’s long history, Bill Hinch had made an end to a whole lot—hundreds, some stated—of prisoners together with his heavy axe.

The time before that, 4 hundred years before the time of Roland and his sons, he came as a singer named Bronson, who turned an in depth advisor to the King and a Queen. Bronson disappeared like smoke after drumming up an incredible and bloody warfare between Delain and Andua.

The time earlier than that…

You get the picture, people. As in that case typically the case with King, we get a wonderfully detailed backstory. The dark magician Flagg typically made me assume of Leland Gaunt of Needful Issues fame, together with his conniving and manipulative methods. I additionally noticed flashes of everyone’s favourite clown, Pennywise, in Flagg’s black history, as Flagg appeared time and again throughout time.

Another favorite second occurs when Thomas finally provides in to temptation and returns to the secret passageway that provides him a glimpse into his father’s chambers. It simply so occurs that this journey coincides with the night time of Flagg’s poisoning of the King:

Roland raised the back of his hand to his mouth for a second, as if to stifle a belch. “Did you spice it?” he requested. “It tasted…almost mulled.”

“No, my Lord,” Flagg stated gravely, however Thomas thought he sensed a smile behind the mask of the magician’s gravity, and that splinter of ice slipped further into his coronary heart. Out of the blue he needed no extra of spying, not ever. He closed the peepholes and crept again to his room. He felt first scorching, then chilly, then scorching again. By morning he had a fever. Before he was nicely again, his father was lifeless, his brother imprisoned in the room at the prime of the Needle, and he was a boy King at the age of barely twelve—Thomas the Mild-Bringer, he was dubbed at the coronation ceremonies. And who was his closet advisor?

You guess.

Effective, razor-sharp, evocative writing—that made me squirm in my seat while I used to be studying it.

And then we come to Peter—courageous and honorable Peter!

I was in awe of how he (just a boy at the time) stood as much as Yosef and saved the life of the crippled horse, signaling to all the kingdom his inside power and resolve; his character.

Some time later, even in despair, I used to be awed once more by Peter’s heroic reaction to his father’s sudden demise and the subsequent accusations of Peter’s involvement:

“Very well,” he stated. “Right here is my command as King. I’ll put the crown apart till I’m cleared of my father’s murder. You, Peyna, will serve Delain as Chancellor during the time it’s with no royal head. I might that the trail should happen as quickly as could also be—tomorrow, even, if that’s attainable. I can be sure by the determination of the courtroom.

“But you will not try me.”

They all blinked and sat up straighter at this dry notice of authority, but Yosef of the stables would not have been stunned by it; he had heard that tone in the boy’s voice earlier than, when Peter was only a stripling.

However, wait, there’s so much extra:

Peter’s ingenious request for his mother’s dollhouse and material napkins to accompany his day by day supper; Ben Staad, the courageous and constant pal Peter a lot deserved; the endless passing of time up in that cold and lonely tower (who else thought of Andy Dufrene from Shawshank Prison when reading about Peter’s beard?: When he got here in, it was solely a shadow on his cheeks and a smudge underneath his nose—a boy’s beard. In the 1,825 days which adopted, it grew lengthy and luxuriant; by the end it reached the center of his chest, and though he was solely twenty-one, it was shot with grey.); Peter’s discovery of an historic locket and word hidden away beneath a unfastened stone in the tower, artifacts of a centuries previous crime dedicated by the creature we all know as Flagg; a drunken and sleepwalking King Thomas; the King’s butler, Dennis, and a much-changed Peyna on a quest for redemption and the fact; Ben and fellow rebel Naomi (named after King’s own daughter and his shut good friend Peter Straub’s son), together with an enormous husky, spearheading a rescue try in a raging blizzard; Flagg unveiling a crystal ball and commanding it to “show him!” and present him it does, as he watches the snowy picture of Peter climbing down the tower to his freedom.

And then the clock actually starts ticking…

…as Peter struggles with the knot on his rope…and Flagg makes his means up the lengthy tower stairway (“Here I come, dear Peter, to chop off your head!” Flagg screamed and commenced to run up the stairs.), sounding quite a bit like Jack Torrance from The Shining; Flagg even calls Peter a “little whelp” at one level in his rage…and Thomas wakes up in the secret passageway and, as if shifting in a dream, shrugs on his father’s robe and enters Roland’s chamber…and Peter finally goes out the window and starts climbing down the outdoors of the Needle…just as Flagg enters the room with an axe…and spots Peter climbing, and seeing that the rope is about to break, stands there at the window, grinning his terrible grin, taunting him…only to see the rope break and Peter plummet towards the snowy floor and certain demise…however falling as an alternative into an immense pile of napkins which his pals have positioned under…and Peter is saved!

Or is he?

I gained’t get into the remaining confrontation between Peter and Flagg in the King’s chambers…except to say that it stunned and delighted me, and I feel it highlighted the good conclusion to The Eyes of the Dragon.

There’s definitely more to the story, however it’s left as much as our imaginations, and as the remaining sentence of the novel reads:

However now the hour is late, and all of that’s another story, for an additional day.

* * *

SCARIEST SCENE…

The Eyes of the Dragon isn’t so much about scares—no less than not in Stephen King’s conventional method—as it is about marvel and journey. With that stated, the following scene gave me some critical heebie-jeebies:

“COMING, PETER!” Flagg shrieked, grinning. He smelled like blood and doom; his eyes have been lethal hearth. The headsman’s axe swished and whickered, and a previous couple of drops of blood flew from the blade and splashed on the partitions. “COMING NOW! COMING FOR YOUR HEAD!”

Up and around, up and around, greater and better. He was a devil with murder on his thoughts.

Creepy as heck and, as soon as once more, shades of our previous good friend, Jack Torrance.

FAVORITE SCENE…

Chapter 27, when Thomas is spying on his father from the hiding place Flagg showed him earlier in the story:

Thomas saw that his father, whom he had all the time beloved and feared, who had seemed to him the biggest man in the world, typically picked his nose when he was alone. He would root round in first one nostril and then the other till he received a plump green booger. He would regard these with solemn satisfaction, turning every one this manner and that in the firelight, the means a jeweler may flip a very high-quality emerald. Most of these he would then rub underneath the chair by which he was sitting. Others, I regret to say, he popped into his mouth and munched with an expression of reflective enjoyment on his face.

And a bit of later:

Most occasions he simply stood up and pissed into the hearth, typically farting as he did so.

Yep, that’s it; my favourite scene. I’m just about twelve at heart—and never many things are funnier to a twelve-year-old than farts and boogers. Sorry, mother.

FAVORITE LINE…

That’s the story, and typically stories inform greater than histories, and extra shortly, too.

Concurrently sums up my deep love of storytelling and my longstanding tolerance of history courses. (More of that twelve-year-old coming to the surface, I assume.)

SCENE THAT STILL MAKES ME CRINGE…

Thomas’s coronation:

At the end of the ceremonies, which have been carried out in such solemn silence that even these at the farthest edges of the big crowd might hear them clearly, the crown was placed on Thomas’s head. Cheers rose again, louder than ever, and Thomas appeared up—up and up the clean, rounded stone aspect of the Needle, to the very prime, where there was however one window. He couldn’t see if Peter was wanting down, but he hoped Peter was. He hoped Peter was wanting down and biting his lips in frustration till the blood flowed down his chin, as Thomas had typically bitten his own lips—bitten them until there was a high-quality white community of scars there.

Do you hear that, Peter? he shrilled in his mind. They’re cheering for ME! They’re cheering for ME! They’re finally cheering for ME!

I saw this scene coming a mile away—I feel we all did—however that didn’t lesson the influence of this tragic and disappointing moment. Not one little bit.

CHARACTER I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO…

I can’t very nicely say all of them—though I need to!—so how about I’m going with black-sheep brother, Thomas, and his trustworthy servant, Dennis? When the novel comes to an in depth, each males have simply set out on a journey of redemption:

“To find Flagg,” Thomas explains. “He’s out there, somewhere. In this world or in some other, he’s out there. I know it; I feel his poison in the wind.”

I’ve a feeling Thomas and Dennis are as much as honorable and heroic acts—wherever they are.

START DATE – Might three, 2016

FINISH DATE – Might 17, 2016


The complete record of the books we’ll be studying might be discovered on the Stephen King Books In Chronological Order For Stephen King Revisited Studying Lists web page. To be notified of new posts and updates by way of e-mail, please sign-up utilizing the box on the proper aspect or the bottom of this website.