A few weeks ago, while reading TylerDFC’s review of The Night Circus, I was reminded of how much I love Stephen King’s criminally overlooked The Eyes of the Dragon. I’ve read this book a few times, first in high school, then again while I was waiting for the last few Dark Tower books to come out (I went through a phase while I was waiting…I read everything I could get my hands on that had a tie to the Dark Tower universe…Insomnia, Salems’ Lot, Rose Madder, short stories, etc.). I just finished reading it for the third time, and it holds up just as well as ever.
What I love most about this book is that it was written specifically for his young (at the time) daughter, Naomi (who also features as a heroic character in the story). Naomi King had complained to her father that he had written all of these famous books, but that she hadn’t been allowed to read any of them yet. And so her dad wrote her this book — a bit of a derivation from his normal writing, this story is a fantasy-based fairy tale.
The Eyes of the Dragon tells the tale of King Roland of Delain, his beautiful young wife Sasha, his two sons Peter and Thomas, and his evil magician Flagg (as in Randall). King Roland is getting older, and his power is slowly being handed over to his chief advisor, Flagg. When Queen Sasha (a major vocal opponent to Flagg) is about to give birth to Prince Thomas, Flagg arranges her murder, leaving Roland to raise the boys on his own. Prince Peter is smart and brave and strong, and will someday make a wonderful King, which of course threatens Flagg. But Thomas is a different sort of boy — a bit bitter, definitely jealous, and not as smart as Peter — all traits that Flagg finds much more appealing. Flagg engineers the murder of good King Roland, and frames Peter for his death, leaving young Thomas to become a puppet King, while Flagg runs the Kingdom.
All of this is simply the background for a wonderful tale of bravery and friendship, as well as a classic battle of good vs. evil. Not your typical King story, but a fun fantasy. A must for anyone interested in the world of The Dark Tower.