“Not that this daybreak would be up to much even when it finally got rolling; call it dawn with a hangover”

I don't quite understand 'up to much even' and 'got rolling', thank you. And actually not so sure why he call it dawn with a hangover? Excerpt From: King, Stephen. “End of Watch"

  • 1
    If something is considered 'not up to much', it is considered not to be a very good example of the genre. To 'get rolling' is to 'get underway' or 'start properly'. Someone with a hangover isn't their normal self, and looks pale and pretty much a washout. Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 21:56
  • Put a comma after "much".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 23:03
  • Conan, the ELL site exists for all question about Stephen King. Also please capitalize the title in the title.
    – Fattie
    Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 0:40

1 Answer 1


Not that this daybreak would be up to much even when it finally got rolling; call it dawn with a hangover

(Note that "even" is not part of the idiom.)

Let's analyse each part.

not up to much (idiom)

to not be of good quality

got rolling

to get started

With this King is referring to the progression of sunrise (at the very beginning vs half way through).


Consider the symptoms of a hangover - you generally feel terrible, aren't up to being your usual self, look pale and sickly (as Edwin Ashworth notes).

So this sentence basically means that the sunrise wasn't very good even when it got properly started - maybe it was just a plain yellow instead of a gorgeous mix of pink and orange, and the colour was washed out and barely there instead of being vibrant.

The amusing personification with the "hangover" should hopefully make sense now. The dawn is not up to its usual standards, so if you imagine it as a person, their condition could be explained by them having a hangover.

  • 1
    With a sour attitude toward the poor sun, the writer is probably saying the speaker is somewhat depressed. With the sun now cleared of guilt, someone has to shoulder the hangover mood, namely whoever's talking. Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 3:40

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