Preceeded by The Dark Tower
.The Wind Through the Keyhole
is the eighth novel in Stephen King
's The Dark Tower
. It is an interquel
that takes place between Wizard and Glass
and Wolves of the Calla
Roland tells his ka-tet a story about his past; months after his mother's death, his father sent him and Jamie DeCurry to the small town of Debaria to investigate a "skin-man", a shapeshifter who has been terrorizing the villagers. Also told is a legend of Mid-World about a young boy named Tim who goes on a dangerous quest through the Endless Forest to save his mother.
The Wind Through the Keyhole provides examples of the following tropes:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Ambush Arroyo is not an arroyo. The locals just like the way the name rolls off the tongue.
- And I Must Scream: Maerlyn is trapped in the form of a 'tyger' and imprisoned in a cage for years. He returns to normal after Tim rescues him, however.
- Arc Words: Present in other Dark Tower books but particularly prominent in this one: "There will be water if God wills it".
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted twice with Tim's teacher and one of the women at Serenity; both were once beautiful but now suffer from hideous disfigurements.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The various monsters and creatures that Tim encounters in the Endless Forest either spare his life or help him on his journey.
- The Fair Folk: The 'sighe,' a sprite-like, hypnotic creature whose name—Armaneeta—is just one phoneme away from Amanita, the genus of mushroom that includes the death cap.
- For the Evulz: Pretty much the only reason the Covenant Man sends poor old Tim on his quest.
- Framing Device: Roland tells the ka-tet about his encounter with the "skin-man". In his flashback, we get another story within a story about the legend of "The Wind through the Keyhole" with Tim. So it's a story within a story within a story within a story, basically.
- Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: While all of the Dark Tower books have been made available in "Limited Editions", this marks the first time that the illustrations were not available with the standard trade edition.
- Kid Hero: Tim
- The Lost Woods: The Endless Forest.
- Manipulative Bastard: The Covenant Man, and Randall Flagg as usual.
- Merlin Sickness: Discussed trope. Tim asks Maerlyn if it's true, and he says it isn't, but nobody ever believes how mundane his life actually is.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Skin-man". Seriously, is there anything positive that can be associated with such a creepy name?
- Nested Story: See the description under Framing Device above.
- Nonindicative Name: The title, almost to the point of being a Red Herring. Tim is about to be set upon by a 'starkblast' storm, there is a potential shelter with a locked door, and he has to obtain a key for it from a dangerous place. Do you see where this is going? Well you're wrong—the key doesn't work, he finds a different way to shelter from the storm, and 'the wind through the keyhole' is an almost completely unrelated philosophical phrase he comes up with.
- Sadistic Choice: The Covenant Man and 'RF' set up Tim for a multi-layered one. A caged tyger has a key to a shelter from a deadly storm around his neck. Tim at first thinks the choice is to die in the storm or risk his life to get the key. Then he remembers he has a gun. The Tyger is actually Maerlyn forcibly transformed, so if Tim shot it, he would be killing a good man. He takes a third option and chooses to trust the tyger and free it...but the key doesn't work in an extra level of sadism. Fortunately he finds a different way out.
- Shape Shifter Swan Song: Happens to the skin-man when he dies.
- Shout-Out: The Lion Guardian of the Beams is called Aslan.
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: The "skin-man" who is able to shape-shift into various types of animals.
- Plant Person: The swamp creatures.
- Whole Episode Flashback