The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #50: Reading of Robert Browning’s Poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”

Episode #50: Storytime Reading of Robert Browning’s Poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2050.mp3

Last week, we read the Old English fairy tale, “Childe Roland.”  This week, I’m reading aloud the Robert Browning poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” which was the inspiration for Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.  It’s quite different from the fairy tale and from King’s books, though it shares the dark psychological bent he gave his long magnus opus.  I found it a difficult poem to read.  Couldn’t quite get into a good rhythm, so there are parts that seem more staccato than I would have liked.  It seemed more like one of those works that tries to evoke a series of feelings and images rather than telling a narrative tale.  It reminded me of the Coleridge poem, “Kubla Khan” (In Xanadu did Kubla Khan / A stately pleasure-dome decree …).  

You can find an interpretation of Browning’s poem on Sparknotes.  One of the takeaways of the poem is there is always sacrifice in the single minded devotion to a goal and sometimes that leads to some culture shock when others can’t quite understand what the goal was all for.  Logan from The Thirteenth Hour figures that at the end of his own long quest, as mentioned here.

Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came, by Thomas Moran (clicking on the picture takes you to the Wikipedia entry to this poem).

If you don’t know the story of Roland a la Stephen King, I highly recommend reading them or listening to the audio books (which are excellent).  The first novel, The Gunslinger, has a great opening line.  Below are some pictures from the novels in the series.

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The beginning of The Gunslinger

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Susannah Dean takes aim with Roland’s revolver, by Ned Dameron.

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Jake Chambers and Oy on the attack, by Michael Whelan.

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Jake and Roland at the clearing at the end of the path, by Michael Whelan.

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #49: Fairytale Storytime – Childe Roland

Episode #49: Fairytale Storytime Reading of “Childe Roland”

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2049.mp3

This week, we are reading a narrative form of the old English fairytale, “Childe Roland” as he quests after the Elf King in the Dark Tower from this illustrated book:

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Click on the picture above to be taken to an Amazon link (book now out of print, unfortunately).

Illustrations by Moira Kemp that accompany the text:

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Childe Roland encounters Merlin.

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Childe Roland getting schooled by Merlin.

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Childe Roland on his quest.

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Childe Roland tempted by food as his sister, Burd Ellen, is unable to keep from giving it to him.

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The King of Elfland.

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Next week, we’ll read the poem by Robert Browning, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came.”

This story provided inspiration for Stephen Kin’s epic fantasy, the Dark Tower series.  More on this in the future.  Here are some illustrations by Michael Whelan of Stephen King’s version of Childe Roland, Roland of Gilead, the Gunslinger:

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Roland and a young Jake Chambers, the real “childe” version of the adult Roland.

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Roland looking into a pond, probably contemplating all the sacrifices he’s gone through on his quest for the Dark Tower.

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!