"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."The Gunslinger
is the first book in The Dark Tower
series. The story opens with The Gunslinger
Roland Deschain trekking across a desert that appears to be in the Old West
but may actually be
our own world in the distant future
tell a High Fantasy
tale of Roland's childhood.
Followed by The Drawing of the Three
The Gunslinger provides examples of the following tropes:
- After the End: "The World has moved on." (Also the Arc Words)
- Badass: Roland
- Badass and Child Duo: Roland and Jake.
- Black Cloak: The man in black, obviously.
- Chekhov's Gun: The ancient jawbone.
- Combat Pragmatist: Roland's weapon of choice in his gunslinger trial is David, his trained hawk. He's also mastered the art of fighting dirty, which makes Cort proud.
- Die Laughing: Walter's skeleton appears this way.
- The Dog Shot First: Allie is held as a shield and hostage by Sheb as the residents of Tull attack Roland. Originally, Roland kills her out of pure instinct; his trained hands react quicker than his mind. She screams at him not to shoot, but it's too late, and the guilt of her death sits on Roland throughout the rest of the story. In the revised edition, there is a convoluted subplot in which after Walter resurrects Nort, he tells Allie that if she says "nineteen" to Nort, he will tell her what he saw on the other side. Knowing will drive her crazy, but so will not knowing. Later, during the shootout, she begs Roland to kill her because she has spoken nineteen to Sheb and can't bear the horrors that he whispered back to her. As she dies King says that "the last expression on her face might have been gratitude."
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Not only is this book much shorter than the others in the series; it has a much more disjointed, poetic style. The narrative flow is much more linear in later books, which justify the different style by emphasizing that Roland went a little bit nuts during his long solo journey.
- Evil Chancellor: Marten
- Evil Laugh: The man in black
- Friend or Idol Decision: The Boy or the Tower? The Tower.
- Friend to All Children: Hax the cook. Subverted when he turns out to be a traitor.
- The Gunslinger: Not the trope namer, but it could have been. Certainly a Trope Codifier.
- Guns Akimbo: Afterward, Roland loses two fingers and can't properly take the position again.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Roland and Cuthbert, while they were kids at least.
- Humanoid Abomination: The Slow Mutants.
- Immune to Bullets: Walter. Despite his Improbable Aiming Skills, when Roland fires at him, he misses him with all twelve shots.
- Jerkass: Cort
- Mood Dissonance: Walter o' Dim includes a little smiley face ☺ in his letter to Alice telling her the incomprehensible, indescribable Psychological Horror that would happen to her if she told Nort his Trigger Phrase.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The final test to become a gunslinger is a public fight between the candidate and his teacher, wherein they both pull out all the stops. Roland beats the everliving shit out of Cort before the latter yields, and afterwards he falls into a coma.
- Oedipus Complex: Lampshaded.
- Patchwork Story: The book was originally published as a series of short stories and novellas, hence its somewhat episodic nature.
- Precision F-Strike: In contrast to the Cluster F-Bomb of the other books.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Cuthbert is the red to Alain's blue.
- Shoot the Hostage: Sheb uses Roland's lover, Allie as a Human Shield and hostage. Roland kills her out of pure instinct; his trained hands react quicker than his mind. Changed in the revised edition.
- Time Skip: Happened during the story. At the very end, Roland wakes up after ten years to find Walter o' Dim dead as a skeleton.
- Training from Hell: How Cort trains the young gunslingers for their test.
- Trigger Phrase: Nineteen.
- Would Hit a Girl/ Would Hurt a Child: Roland kills every inhabitant of Tull, men, women and children. To be fair, they were all trying to kill him.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: When the two finally meet, Walter, the man in black, congratulates Roland on letting Jake fall to his death in order to reach his goal. Roland's responds by attempting once again to shoot Walter.