Characters: The Dark Tower
Unmarked spoilers ahead!
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Roland Deschain of GileadThe series protagonist, also called "the Gunslinger", who hails from Gilead in the barony of New Canaan. He became a gunslinger at age fourteen after defeating his teacher, Cortland Andrus, in combat (his weapon of choice being David the hawk. He seeks the Dark Tower and will stop at nothing to reach it.
- Badass: It's a requirement for being a gunslinger. He is an insanely fast draw with a deadly aim.
- Chick Magnet: Is noted to be rather handsome, and has a number of romantic encounters throughout the story.
- Cosmic Plaything: Was a target of The Crimson King since childhood.
- Guns Akimbo: As is common among gunslingers, though after he loses his right index finger he can only effectively fire with his left hand.
- Handicapped Badass: Starting with book two.
- I Am X, Son of Y: I am Roland, son of Steven.
- Icy Blue Eyes: He has faded blue eyes, described as being "the color of icebergs" and a piercing stare.
- I Hate Past Me: How he feels toward the end of the story.
- I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Has a lot of guilt over letting Jake Chambers fall to his death in the first book, so he could catch up with the Man in Black.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Proven true in Wizard and Glass, although Susan Delgado reflects upon meeting Cuthbert that he is actually more charming and attractive and suppresses the thought.
- Mommy Issues: And how. When he's 14, he discovers that his mother is having an affair with Marten Broadcloak, one of Flagg's guises. This is the catalyst for his early gunslinger trial. Later, after the events in Wizard and Glass, he glimpses her in a mirror carrying a belt that she intends as a peace offering. He mistakes her for Rhea and her snake (magical illusion may or may not have been involved), and guns her down out of pure reflex.
- Omniglot: He mentions that he speaks five languages and used to know a sixth one, but he has "forgotten everything but the curses."
- One-Man Army: Single-handedly kills the entire town of Tull, men, women and children, when they were whipped into a fanatical religious frenzy against him by Sylvia Pittston.
- Parental Substitute: He's a father figure to both Jake and Eddie.
- Pet the Dog: Which makes so much worse when he... Shoots The Dog
- Quick Draw: His draw is described as "faster than a streak of blue summer lightning".
- Really 700 Years Old: His true age is never given, but he's very, very old, even discounting the time, however much of it there is, he's spent in the loop.
- Sole Survivor: Of the Battle on Jericho Hill.
- The Stoic: He does have a sense of humor, but it's normally as dry as the Mohaine Desert. Upon losing two fingers from his right hand:
- Tragic Hero: Utterly determined to find the Tower, even if it means sacrificing everyone close to him, and he's not happy about this fact.
- Walk the Earth: Pursuing the Man in Black and looking for the Dark Tower, to try and fix whatever is causing his world to fall apart at the seams.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Letting Jake fall, shooting surrendering enemies and killing his own son, among other things.
John "Jake" ChambersA young boy from New York who was killed in his own world and appeared at the Way Station in the Mohaine desert of Roland's world. He fell to his death when Roland abandoned him, but in the the third novel Jake is brought back to life because of a Grandfather Paradox caused by the death of Jack Mort.In the final novel, he throws himself in front of a car to protect Stephen King
- Back from the Dead: Dies in Roland's world in The Gunslinger, but when Roland is in control of Jack Mort's body during The Drawing of the Three, he is able to prevent Jake's death in Jake's own world by stopping Jack from pushing Jake into traffic. Roland, Eddie and Susannah later find a door through which they are able to draw Jake back into Roland's world.
- Badass Adorable: To the point that an 11 year old girl tells him she wants to do it in a closet.
- Berserk Button: Do NOT hurt Oy in front of him.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He's pretty easygoing, and he's got the same wants and needs as a regular kid his age, but he doesn't hesitate to kill when it is necessary.
- A Boy and His X: A Boy And His Bumbler
- Break the Cutie: Goes through an extended one after his first death was prevented, and again when he is kidnapped by Gasher.
- Parental Neglect: His parents didn't give much attention to him, and he was actually closer to the housekeeper than them.
- Took a Level in Badass: Between books four and five.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: After getting no affection from his real father, he turns toward Roland for acceptance.
Edward Cantor "Eddie" DeanA drug addict from New York who was rescued from drug lord Enrico Balazar by Roland. Eddie always has a snarky comment or terrible pun for any situation.In the final novel, he is shot by Pimli Prentiss after the attack on Algul Siento.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He's a smartass, kind of a goofball, and when introduced he's still a slave to drugs, but Roland recognized that there was "deep steel" in Eddie Dean, and his judgement is vindicated in the shootout at Balazar's place.
- Disappeared Dad: He finds the Mid-World expression "forgotten the face of my father" ironic, because he wouldn't recognize his father if he met him. When he introduces himself as "Eddie Dean of New York, son of Wendell" in Calla, he thinks that leastwise, his mother always said that.
- Going Cold Turkey: There's no heroin in Roland's world and going through the withdrawal cold turkey was not pleasant...but it was better than going baked turkey.
- Sad Clown: Uses jokes and sarcasm to cover up his lack of self-worth, which came from his emotionally manipulative brother and years of being a junkie.
- Sarcastic Devotee: "All things serve the fuckin' Beam." He often makes light of their quest and is always quick with the jokes, but he becomes loyal to Roland and wants to see things through to the end.
- Took a Level in Badass: Goes from a strung-out junkie looking for his next hit to a true gunslinger.
- Young Gun: Roland sees Eddie's potential almost immediately but it takes a while to bring it to the fore.
Susannah Dean (formerly Odetta Holmes/Detta Walker)A black, disabled woman who lived in the 1960s and fought for equal rights. She suffered from a Split Personality: Odetta Susannah Holmes, who was refined and cultured, and Detta Walker, who was foulmouthed and violent. They merged together into one person. Susannah had to distract a demon by having sex with it, and became "pregnant" with Mordred, a child of Roland, the Crimson King and Mia, who possessed Susannah and brought her split personality disorder back.In the final novel, she returns to the New York of another world, where she is reunited with Eddie and Jake.
- Action Girl: She's a crack shot with the pistol and later the oriza.
- Amazonian Beauty: She's described as very beautiful, with very muscular arms from driving a wheelchair.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Almost everything Detta says.
- Handicapped Badass: Her legs were cut off above the knee a few years before the events of the series. That does not slow her down.
- The Smart Guy: Odetta for literature, Detta for mathematics.
- Split Personality: Odetta Holmes and Detta Walker.
- Split Personality Merge: Happens at the end of Book 2, resulting in her merge into Susannah. Her alter-egos are still there and do resurface occasionally however, particularly Detta.
- Twofer Token Minority: A black woman with multiple personality disorder in a wheelchair. Particularly notable in that every other member of the ka-tet is a white male.
- Values Dissonance: In-universe. In her time, the politically correct term for African-Americans is "Negro". She doesn't like it when Eddie calls her "black". Eddie has a hard time with this because in his time, calling a black person a Negro is almost tantamount to calling her a nigger.
OyA billy-bumbler from Mid-World who was an outcast from his pack and joined the ka-tet.In the final novel, Mordred brutally kills him.
- Retcon: When he joins the ka-tet in The Waste Lands, he is missing his tail. Roland thinks he probably lost it in a fight with other bumblers. In later books, he's described as wrapping his (very long) tail around himself when he rests. No explanation is given as to how he got it back.
- Tanuki: It's unknown if this was intentional or coincidental on King's part, but as a raccoon/dog hybrid with a penchant for mimicry...
The Original Ka-Tet
Cuthbert AllgoodRoland's comedic childhood friend. He died during the Battle of Jericho Hill.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Cuthbert jokes around and acts childish sometimes, but his mind is razor-sharp, and he is lethal with a slingshot.
- Deadpan Snarker: Not quite as much as Eddie, but he still has his moments.
- Lethal Joke Item: Slingshot beats gun.
Alain JohnsRoland and Cuthbert's friend, who was killed by his allies, accidentally prior to the Battle of Jericho Hill. He was strong in the Touch.
- Beware the Nice Ones: At least according to Roland, Alain was generally gentle, patient, and understanding, but you do NOT want to piss him off.
- Friend Or Foe: Roland and Cuthbert kill Alain after mistaking him for an enemy scout.
- Spider-Sense: The Touch.
Susan DelgadoRoland's first true love, a young, pure woman from Hambry who had accepted money to become the mistress of Mayor Hart Thorin. She was burned alive for her relationship with Roland
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With Roland.
Walter / The Man in BlackAn enigmatic sorcerer whose true name is Walter Padick but who goes by several other names including Randall Flagg (or simply Flagg, Marten Broadcloak, Richard Fannin, Walter O'Dim, and several others. He is the Crimson King's second-in-command, who intends to scale the tower himself.
- Arch-Enemy: To Roland. Until Mordred comes along...
- Cruel and Unusual Death: What a nasty way to go.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Started out as a miller's son.
- Hidden Depths: Hinted in Wolves of the Calla when Callahan calls him cruel.Walter's eyes widen, and for a moment he looks deeply hurt. This may be absurd, but Callahan is looking into the man's deep eyes and feels sure that the emotion is nonetheless genuine. And the surety robs him of any last hope that all this might be a dream, or a final brilliant interval before true death. In dreams — his, at least — the bad guys, the scary guys, never have complex emotions.
- I Have Many Names: Including but not limited to Walter o'Dim, Walter Padick, Marten Broadcloak, Rudin Filaro and other variations of R.F.
- Theme Initials: R.F
- Walking the Earth: Well more like walking the multiverse.
The Crimson KingA spider god named Los', who has gone mad and intends to tear down the Dark Tower.
- The Anti-God: He's personification of evil in the multiverse, yet not very sane or powerful, and he plans on knocking down the Dark Tower, which would destroy the multiverse in general.
- The Caligula: Gleefully murdered his entire court.
- Giant Spider: Implied to be his true form
- Greater Scope Villain: Of Stephen King's metaverse. However, at one point Mia states that the Crimson King has been "promised" a new kingdom after all the Beams have been broken, but by whom, she knows not. So there may be a never-seen even bigger bad behind him. When Susannah questions her about this she states that he may have only promised it to himself, she doesn't know for sure.
- Half-Human Hybrid: In the Expanded Universe of the comics.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning - He has blood red eyes that hypnotize all who look into them. They're even the only things left after he's erased!
- Shout-Out: His name is a shout out to the song "The Court of the Crimson King" by King Crimson. His real name, Los, is one to William Blake.
Mordred DeschainThe son of the Crimson King, Roland, Susannah, and Mia, who can transform into a spider at will and whose sole purpose is killing Roland.
- Fetus Terrible: The first thing he does after being born is eat his own mother.
- Has Two Mommies: And two daddies.
- Hyperactive Metabolism: Holy crap! Within a few hours after he was born ate two people, one of whom was Randall Fucking Flagg, and several animals, and he's still hungry!
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: What he does to Flagg.
- Madness Mantra: Mordred's a-hungry!
- Tragic Monster: King says so himself!
- Werebeast and Giant Spider: Were-spider
- Wizard Needs Food Badly: His only other motivations aside from a burning hatred of Roland and his Ka-tet are his constant hunger and a morbid fear of starvation.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: well, he'd like to be . . .
John Farson"The Good Man", who intended to collect weapons and fuel to wage war against the gunslingers and overthrow the baronies. He ultimately succeeded.
- Aggressive Negotiations: Join The Good Man's revolution or lose your head.
- Army of Thieves and Whores: Farson's army is full of bandits, cutthroats and Slow Mutants.
- Decapitation Presentation: Taking bets on how far he can hit a victim's head with the broadside of his sword.
- Dead Guy on Display: Displays his enemies' heads to discourage resistance against his armies.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Began his career as a small time harrier (outlaw) before forming his army.
- Great Offscreen War: Not much of the war between his rebels and the Affiliation is actually shown on-page.
- Predecessor Villain: In the comics, Walter is subservient to Farson as an agent of the Crimson King.
- President Evil: Farson is a crafty politician and great public speaker, who wants to replace the Gunslingers with his own version of "democracy".
- Shoot the Messenger: Has Clay Reynolds beaten when Reynolds returns without Farson's crystal ball.
Richard Patrick SayreA high-ranked can-toi of the Crimson King's forces, who runs the Sombra Group and North Central Positronics.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: He controls the company owned by the Crimson King. What does that tell you?
- Meaningful Name: His full name contains nineteen letters.
- Red Right Hand: Like with all the masked can-toi, there is a small circular scar on his forehead that is always welling up with liquid blood, which never spills over to run down his face.
- Slasher Smile: Gleefully tells Father Callahan how he led him to his office to either be killed or infected by vampires.
Tick-Tock Man/Andrew QuickThe power-mad leader of the Greys of Lud, who is obsessed with clocks. After being shot he was recruited by the Man in Black.
- Berserk Button: "So Fell Lord Perth." Lord Perth being his direct ancestor.
- Faux Affably Evil: It's mentioned that Tick-Tock is very charismatic, and people can't look away from him for very long, feeling almost hypnotized by his presence. He's also very polite and gentle with Jake at first (or at least more polite and gentle than the brutal and thuggish Gasher) and seems more educated and relaxed in general than the rest of the Grays, then Jake manages to accidentally press his Berserk Button...
- Large and In Charge: When Jake first meets him, he notes that Tick-Tock is a very big man, and the only one of the Grays he's seen that looks healthy.
- Lightning Bruiser: In addition to the aforementioned size, Tick-Tock also moves with an eerie speed (demonstrated when he gets out of his casual sitting position, pulls a knife from its scabbard, and flings it into the chest of a laughing woman from across the room in the time it takes to blink), and Jake notes with dismay that he may actually be faster than Roland. Luckily, this theory is never tested.
- Starter Villain: The first antagonist the full ka-tet faces.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Naked to the waist the whole time.
GasherThe first Grey that the ka-tet meets in Lud, who kidnaps Jake and speaks with a barely-understandable dialect.
- Dead Man Walking: Due to the mandrus, some sort of extremely nasty disease; the common name "whore's blossoms" implies it's an STD.
- Faux Affably Evil: He's yer old pal, Gasher.
- Gonk: He's startlingly ugly even without the mandrus.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Gasher and Hoots, another Gray, were always butt-buddies of old, says Tick-Tock. Hoots even writes down the password for gaining entry to the Cradle of the Grays and gives it to Gasher to help him remember, which Gasher seems quite grateful for (even though he can't read).
- Hidden Depths: Has a surprisingly good tenor singing voice.
- Kick the Dog: See Would Hurt a Child. The way he slaps Jake around is almost casual.
- Pirate: Not the dashing kind.
- Poisonous Person: He even dares Jake to bite him, because this sickness he has "runs in the blood" as he says.
- Would Hurt a Child: He is not gentle when he kidnaps Jake.
BlaineThe computer system that runs Lud and inhabits a train. It takes delight in riddles and is sadistic, having driven its partner Patricia to suicide and feeling no remorse about destroying Lud.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Was once a servant of the citizens of the Imperium, but after they vanished and the world began to move on, he started to lose his sanity.
- ALL CAPS: How his dialogue is shown. The voice of "Little Blaine", and the recording the ka-tet hears when they board Blaine (which sounds like a more confident Little Blaine) is written normally, however.
- Ax-Crazy: He will kill with little provocation.
- Cool Train: Even though it's controlled by a mad AI, the Barony Coach car is pretty sweet.
- Deus Est Machina: Seen as a malevolent god by the Pubes.
- Disc One Final Boss: The first major villain the ka-tet defeats.
- For the Evulz: His motivation for gassing Lud and attempting to kill the ka-tet.
- Blaine claimed that Patricia, the other monorail based in Lud, had essentially had a mental breakdown and would not stop crying. He removed certain restraints from Patricia's programming so she could kill herself by going over a broken trestle into the Send, and so he wouldn't have to listen to her anymore. He basically lets his only remaining contemporary die because she got on his nerves.
- Jerk Ass: Showcased in his treatment of Patricia, and how he uses the "god-drums" to incite the Pubes of Lud to practice human sacrifice in order to appease what they think are malicious ghosts.
- Large Ham: Has an over-the-top speaking manner and is constantly doing John Wayne impressions.
- Logic Bomb: Eddie dispatches him with these, much to the surprise of the rest of the ka-tet.
- Riddle Me This: Practically the only thing that piques his interest by the time of the story, aside from watching the Pubes kill each other because of the "god-drums".
- Shock and Awe: Blaine electrocuted the last person who tried talking to him before Roland's ka-tet came along.
- Split Personality: Big Blaine and Little Blaine. Big Blaine is the one that is in control and doesn't seem to realize that Little Blaine even exists. Little Blaine is what is left of Blaine's original programming and is utterly helpless to do anything but warn the ka-tet not to piss off Big Blaine.
- Taking You with Me: Intends to kill himself at the end of his final run, and the ka-tet is along for the ride. Roland manages to convince Blaine to spare them if they can best him at riddles.
Rhea Dubativo of the CöosA witch that the residents of Hambry fear greatly. She becomes addicted to using Maerlyn's grapefruit to spy on others.
- Dirty Old Woman: An even creepier variation than the usual. During a scene where she is bullying poor Sheemie (who was delivering a cask of Graf to her hut), she made a very rape-y and uncomfortable pass at him, and it is very heavily implied that she was getting off on her pet snake "rubbing" against her while she spied on people through the pink ball.
- Killed Offscreen: It's implied that Roland killed her at one point but it's never elaborated upon.
- Wicked Witch: Being wicked is pretty much a requirement for working with the Crimson King. In her backstory, she made a pact with him for extended life in exchange for serving him.
Eldred JonasThe leader of the Big Coffin Hunters, an arrogant old man.
- Broken Ace: Before getting a shard of the "Laughing Mirror" embedded in his foot, which was mostly what turned him into an evil and lazy man, Eldred Jonas was a prodigy who could quickly master nearly every type of weapon that was handed to him.
- Evil Counterpart: A failed gunslinger.
- Fighting with Chucks: His weapon of choice during the final test was the "Kashmini Nunchaku", a weapon apprentice gunslingers are trained to use. Too bad he was more interested in goofing off than actually training with them...
- Handicapped Badass: Walks with a limp due to having his leg broken by his instructor, which resulted in the aforementioned failure.
- Minion Shipping: With Coral.
- Scars Are Forever: His back is covered in scars from where he was flogged before being "sent West" as punishment for his failed test of manhood.
- Terrible Trio: With Clay and Roy.
- Vocal Dissonance: Described as having a thin, quavery voice.
- We Used to Be Friends: Eldred trained under Cort's father, and he and Cort were apparently really close childhood friends, that is until Eldred failed his last test and was sent West.
Roy DepapeA dim-witted Big Coffin Hunter.
Clay ReynoldsA Big Coffin Hunter who always wears a cloak and is popular with women.
Jack MortA serial killer, "the Pusher", who is responsible for Jake's first death and Susannah's split personality.
- Death by Irony: Killed by the same train he pushed Odetta under years ago.
- The Dreaded: During the day, he holds a respectable job in real estate. His coworkers are absolutely terrified of him. It's never made clear why.
- Man on Fire: A shot from a cop's gun ignites the cigarette lighter in his front pocket when Roland's in control of his body.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Mort only carries a lighter so he can light his boss' cigarettes at opportune times, usually when someone else even higher up the ladder is nearby, so he looks like a man of courtesy and good taste.
- Serial Killer: By pushing people into danger, or pushing objects onto people, such as a brick off of a high windowsill onto a child's head.
Cortland AndrusRoland, Cuthbert, Alain and Jamie's mentor.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Constantly belittles his charges and will beat them if they aren't living up to his expectations.
- Eye Scream: During his duel with Roland, Roland's hawk David claws out his bad eye, which was already blind.
- Made of Iron: Gunslingers "graduated" from his class by beating the crap out of him; at least one of his predecessors had died during these coming-of-age duels. In the end, it was poison, probably, that killed him and not the duels.
- Training from Hell: Cort will literally go upside his student's heads whenever they aren't meeting his high standards.
- We Used to Be Friends: Was apparently good friends with Eldred Jonas during his childhood, that is until Eldred failed his last test...
Gabrielle DeschainRoland's mother, who lost her son's respect after having sex with Marten.
- Death by Origin Story: She was accidentally shot by a paranoid Roland after he discovered a plot to undermine Gilead; she was apparently going to try to make amends, but Roland's reflexes took over when he heard someone entering his room.
- The Mole: Worked with the resistance leader, who was her lover.
Sheemie RuizA mentally disabled young man who worked at a tavern in Hambry; he was recruited into being a Breaker in Algul Siento
- The Rainman: Despite being mentally handicapped, Sheemie is revealed to be a powerful Breaker.
Henry DeanEddie's older brother, who bullied Eddie out of jealousy.
- Big Brother Bully: Eddie realizes this in The Waste Lands.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: A toned-down version of this trope as Henry was more of a Jerkass rather than outright evil. He was not the best of brothers, but Eddie still loved him, even when he later realized that most of the time Henry was just jealous of him and trying to bring him down.
- Erudite Stoner: Referred to as the "Great Sage and Eminent Junkie" by Eddie and himself, however it's a subversion of the trope, as the main thing Henry was good at was, well, being a junkie, with Manipulative Bastard tendencies.
- Jerkass: A number of flashbacks in The Waste Lands show that Henry could often be pretty mean to Eddie, especially if he saw that Eddie was better at something than he was, such as basketball (and, as Eddie comes to realize, just about everything).
- Manipulative Bastard: Eddie notes that Henry's limp (due to a wound he received in Vietnam) would always become more pronounced when they were arguing, most likely in an effort to make Eddie feel like a jerk for stressing his poor put-upon brother who always had to watch out for him.
- Present Absence: Henry is only on page for a short time before he's killed by Balazar's men, but it takes Eddie a while to get over the mental block that Henry caused with his bullying when they were younger.
Father Donald Frank CallahanA priest who fought vampires; he met Roland's ka-tet in Calla Bryn Sturgis and travelled with them until he shot himself rather than letting the elder vampires kill him.
- The Alcoholic: In his backstory. At one point, Callahan wonders at having been a walking stereotype: an Irish Catholic priest with a drinking problem.
- Badass Preacher: In the years after 'Salem's Lot he started hunting vampires after one of them infected his friend Lupe Delgado with AIDS, which got him on the Sombra Corporation's shit list.
- Canon Foreigner: Played With. He is a character from one of Stephen King's first novels, 'Salem's Lot, and has to proide an Info Dump on how he got from that continuity to this. Justified, given that Mid-World is the hub of King's personal Multi Verse.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Having fully regained his faith, he kills ancient vampire lords in the Dixie Pig with his bare hands before being overwhelmed and deciding to shoot himself.
- Fail O'Suckyname: His nickname in Calla Bryn Sturgis, "the Old Fella", is slang for 'penis' in some circles in Real Life.
- Sixth Ranger: To Roland's ka-tet.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: A huge chunk of Wolves of the Calla is taken up by his explanation of what happened to him after the events of 'Salem's Lot and how he ended up in Roland's world.
- Devil but No God: markedly less directly influential than the Crimson King.
Stephen Edwin KingA prolific horror writer from Maine, Stephen King appears As Himself in the last two novels of the series. He is first mentioned when Roland discovers a copy of 'Salem's Lot, causing an existential crisis for Callahan; Roland and Eddie, visiting "Keystone Earth" in the when of 1977, discover that King is a medium through which the Dark Tower is attempting to save itself. They become convinced that their quest cannot succeed if King does not complete his Magnum Opus, and encourage him to do so.
- Author Powers: inverted. Stevie explicitly disclaims creating Roland or any of the others, and cannot control them; in fact, he admits to having given up on the series after completing The Gunslinger precisely because Roland went Off the Rails and let Jake fall.
- Celebrity Paradox: Word of God is that the character who appears in the books is a fictionalized version of himself.
- Painting the Medium: King occasionally writes hints to the ka-tet in the text of the books.
- Save This Person, Save the World: King's completing the books may be difficult if he's killed in a car crash on June 19, 1999. Which is precisely what the Crimson King is planning.