I don't have much to say, really. I'm okay with Roland's ending, ka is a wheel and all that, but I've been very displeased with the books that followed Wolves of the Calla. Truth be told, there were some bits of Calla that I was squidgy about, where I felt a mounting sense of dread as I found my head muttering to itself: "He's taking it too far, he's taking it too far . . ." and indeed, he did take it too far, and rolled right over the precipice, say sorry.
The "it" I'm speaking of is King inserting himself into the books. I cannot tell you how annoying I found that. Yes, I fully get why, figured that one out way before the afterword, but I think that's one temptation to which he should not have succumbed. It completely ruined my immersion. Rather than demonstrating the blurring of reality and Roland's world, it instead made the characters less real to me. I didn't care about them as much, or their deaths, because I was constantly reminded that they were just characters in a book; just puppets of the author.
I really hated that. King's half-apologetic explanation at the end . . . I think he realizes he shat where he ate, so to speak, but feared that if he did not go on and finish it, he might never complete it, and at least he did finish it, if not the way he originally conceived it. I'd imagine it's clear to everyone, King included, that the ending books are not what they might have been had his near-death experience never happened.
I don't exactly blame King. I think he did the best he could, tired and damaged as he was, and he knows that it fell short. I blame Bryan Smith, the man who hit King with his car on June 19th, 1999. I think the last books became King's therapy, and unfortunately, while he may have exorcised mental demons of his own that were raised during the process of his recovery, ultimately, he lost his way. He didn't fall off the Beam entirely, but like his gunslinger, perhaps the Dark Tower is completed properly in another cycle in another dimension. Unfortunately, the readers in this dimension lost out.
King may have begun to believe too much in his own mythos, and the statement "there are other worlds than these" seems to have become more of a crutch than a foundation, if you take my meaning.
I'm disappointed, not in the ending per se . . . I'm grateful that there was an ending. But I'm definitely not happy with the shallow, hollow feeling of the last few books comprising the journey. They seem a disservice to the characters; almost a mockery of those that walk within their pages.
I guess I just feel like we didn't really make it to the tower after all. I feel cheated out of the story that was meant to be told, and now we'll never know what that was.
Ultimately, the tale left me with a sad sense of what might've been, instead of what was. Like an old flame that you remember fondly, and sometimes wonder what might've happened if only certain conversations hadn't happened or if certain events hadn't transpired, but ultimately, you didn't walk down that path, and there's no going back.
I mourn the saga's wasted potential.
Speaking bluntly of the only other literary epic I'm currently following, I hope Robert Jordan doesn't screw up The Wheel of Time as badly.