Literature / Wolves of the Calla

Preceded by Wizard and Glass.

Wolves of the Calla is Book V of Stephen King's Epic Fantasy series The Dark Tower. Roland of Gilead's quest to save all worlds from evil continues in this fifth installment of King's epic tale, the series' plot takes a detour which finds the gunslinger and his companions helping the farmers of Calla Bryn Sturgis fight against the terrifying "Wolves" who threaten to kidnap the Calla's children.

Followed by Song of Susannah.

Wolves of the Calla provides examples of the following tropes:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Andy, the messenger robot, is really not nice.
  • Arc Number: 19, and later 99.
  • The Atoner: Pere Callahan tries his best to make up for his failure in 'Salem's Lot, even though he believes he's not worthy of redemption.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Ka-Tet to the Calla.
  • Bishōnen: Callahan worked with one at Home.
  • The Bus Came Back: After literally being Put on a Bus at the end of 'Salem's Lot, Father Callahan finds his way into The Dark Tower series.
  • Canon Welding: A major part of the series in general. The big one in this case is the appearance of Pere Callahan, who was a character in Stephen King's second novel, 'Salem's Lot.
  • Child Soldiers: Jake and his friend.
  • Cliffhanger: The novel ends with Susannah missing with no way to follow her and the discovery that Callahan is a character from a Stephen King novel.
  • Deadly Disc: Sharpened plates as weapons. There's a bit of a legend attached to them about a vengeful woman luring an evil suitor to his doom.
  • Dumb Muscle:
    • Referenced in Father Callahan's story about the Hitler Brothers. He immediately nicknames the huge muscular one "Lenny" and the small weasely one "George," referencing this dynamic from Of Mice and Men, but discovers to his surprise that the big one is actually the brains.
    • Roont children become mentally retarded and grow to extreme size.
  • Fantastic Fruits and Vegetables: The muffin-balls. A "type of ground-berry" covered in sour little horns which smells and tastes like fresh-baked sourdough bread from Zabar's, and which tastes almost like meat when fried in deer fat.
  • The Gunfighter Wannabe
  • Half-Identical Twins: The Calla is flooded with them, at least until the Wolves seize one of each set. Justified, as the abundance of twin births is not a natural phenomenon.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Roland has every confidence that Susannah will master the Oriza plates with hardly any effort because she's a gunslinger. She does, and almost instantly becomes the town's best shot.
  • Hidden Depths: Roland reveals that he is a fantastic dancer. It's a bit of a Suddenly Always Knew That, though he did reference dances being held for the adults in Gilead.
  • Hoist By Their Own Petard: If Andy hadn't told Callahan about the ka-tet passing near Calla Bryn Sturgis, he would have been able to go on manipulating and enjoying the misery of the Calla for years. Then again, ka...
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: The women of the Calla fight off invaders by throwing sharpened plates at them.
  • Last Stand: The Battle of Jericho Hill, which Roland remembers in his dream; it was there that the last forces of Gilead fell to the barbarians and Roland was the Sole Survivor.
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai: Lampshaded in-universe. The main deviation is that none of the samurai cowboys die.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: In-Story. As the Ka-Tet begins obssessing over the mystery number 19 that keeps appearing, Roland dismisses it as nothing more than a coincidence.
  • The Multiverse: During Callahan's years wandering the Highways in Hiding, he passed through many different versions of Earth.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Hitler Brothers.
  • The Napoleon: The smaller Hitler Brother is an Ax-Crazy psychopath.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The Wolves are Doombots on mechanical horses with weaponized sneetches from Harry Potter and wielding lightsabers. Not an exaggeration, this is exactly how they're described in the story.
  • Portal Network: The Highways in Hiding.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: In the legend of Lady Oriza, before killing Gray Dick, who killed her father, she tells him this: "May your first day in hell last ten thousand years, and may it be the shortest."
  • Psycho for Hire: The Hitler Brothers are hired by the low men.
  • Robot Antennae / Attack Its Weak Point
  • Rule of Cool: The Oriza plates, which are somehow more accurate and hit with more force than crossbow bolts, allowing them to decapitate metal robots. Also, the only reason the plates make a buzzing noise when thrown is because that's how the legend went.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The plot is heavily based on The Magnificent Seven. Calla Bryn Sturgis is a reference to starring actor Yul Brynner and director John Sturges.
    • Overholser's name is a reference to Western author Wayne D. Overholser.
    • Sneetches are taken from Harry Potter.
    • The Wolves use lightsabers straight out of Star Wars.
    • The clothing of the Wolves is based on Doctor Doom.
  • Silent Whisper: We're never told exactly what the 19-word sentence told to Eddie by the old man was, but we get the gist of it by the book's climax.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: Song of Susannah follows on directly from The Wastelands, and the only thing to take place between Song... and Wolves... is The Wind Through The Keyhole, where Roland and his party shelter from a storm and he tells them a story to pass the time. Yet somehow, Jake, who was a pretty normal kid when he arrived into Mid-World in Wastelands, has somehow taken a massive number of levels in Badass and is a hardened Gunslinger and a crack shot by the very beginning of this book. Somewhat Lampshaded throughout the series, in that Roland's companions are implied to be drawn into his quest because they were born to be Gunslingers.
  • Unreliable Illustrator: The cover image of this edition of the book shows Roland with a gun in each hand, even though Roland has been unable to do so since the second book because he lost two fingers on his right hand.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • "Say thankya," "Hear me well," "Thankya big-big."
    • Also, "commala" pretty much means everything (though it literally means "rice" which is the main crop in Calla Bryn Sturgis).