Dark Tower or Gunslinger?

On November 22, Jeopardy got an answer wrong. Shock, I know. The category was about the first lines of books. Here is an example of how this category’s answer and question worked:

  • Answer: “Marley was dead: to begin with.”
  • Question: What is A Christmas Carol?

The incorrect answer/question in question here is one related to a book and series that is an absolute favorite of mine: the Dark Tower series by Stephen King.

The first line given was: “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

Being a Constant Reader myself, I yelled out at my TV screen in classic playing-Jeopardy-at-home fashion “The Gunslinger!”

A contestant on the show rang in and answered “What is the Dark Tower?” For a smug split-second I shook my head expecting Mr. Trebek to declare him incorrect. Better luck next time, buddy.

But he didn’t. The contestant won the money and promptly moved on.

My jaw dropped—Jeopardy got this totally wrong! I jumped from my couch and called my dad—also a Constant Reader—to see if he had seen, and he agreed.

The Dark Tower is a fabulous, epic series, the first book being titled The Gunslinger. The final book in the series is titled The Dark Tower, and it does not begin with that line.

Now, there could be an argument that because it is a series, then couldn’t it be said the book is titled The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger? But then I ask, had the first line of the clue been: “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much” and the contestant responded with Harry Potter, wouldn’t Alex Trebek have asked him to be more specific and add on “and the Sorcerer’s Stone?”

If perhaps there wasn’t already a book with the title “The Dark Tower” then perhaps we could let the answer slide, but sadly no, Jeopardy, you were mistaken.

The Gunslinger

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”


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